FU Top 100 lower despite Esprit's up

European stock markets were mixed on Wednesday, as market sentiment was hit after downbeat French and German manufacturing data and amid concerns that France may lose its Triple A credit rating.

During European morning trade, the EURO STOXX 50 eased down 0.01%, France's CAC 40 rose 0.11%, while Germany's DAX 30 inched up 0.04%. Preliminary data showed earlier that French and German manufacturing activity fell to a 28-month low in November. In a report, Markit said that its preliminary German manufacturing purchasing managers' index fell to 47.9, while its French index declined to 47.6.In such a gloomy scenario, the FashionUnited Top 100 Index also closed lower, losing 6.87 points and closing market in 1,257.45. CNBC reported Wednesday that shares of Fast Retailing fell around 2 percent so far this year, outperforming Gap's 15 percent drop, H&M's 7 percent fall and Esprit's 77 percent plunge, but lagging Inditex's 16 percent rise.

In Hong Kong, Europe-focused fashion group Esprit Holdings Ltd surged 6.3 percent after its chief executive and chief financial officer raised their stakes in the company earlier this month, according to a disclosure from the Hong Kong bourse. Esprit has been under pressure amid increasing skepticism towards its turnaround plans, with shares down about 75 percent so far this year.

As a loyal reflection of the session, personal goods stocks were the worst performers on Wednesday afternoon, dragged lower by sector giant Burberry. Following reports by MarketWatch, the iconic British luxury brand was among the heaviest fallers on the FTSE 100 falling 4.47% to 1,113p as of 15:28. The decline comes after a key economic measure in China – a fast-growing market for Burberry – came in well below expectations. The HSBC ‘flash’ China manufacturing sector purchasing managers’ Index (PMI) for the month of November has come in at 48.0, versus 51.0 the month before, to a 32 month low. The market consensus had been calling for a reading of 50.1.

Worries of a slowdown in Chinese economic growth have surrounded Burberry over the past few months, with the Asia Pacific region accounting for £265.3m of the £775.3m total retail/wholesale revenues in the six months to 30 September. Asia Pacific underlying revenues rose by an impressive 52% in the first half.

Last big news of the day was in VF Corporation. The VF reported a 23 percent increase in revenue compared to last year. Direct-to-consumer revenues increased 15 percent, and international revenues—namely Asian markets which grew more than 80 percent—increased 29 percent during the quarter. Direct-to-consumer revenue growth can be contributed to “new store openings, comp store revenue growth, and an expanding e-commerce business,” according to Jeff Harbaugh of Jeff Harbaugh & Associates. Harbaugh also pointed out, “A weaker U.S. dollar increased the quarter’s revenues by $56 million.” Globally, The North Face grew by 22 percent and Vans grew by 25 percent during the last quarter.


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