Sluggish data washes out luxury stocks´gains

Friday, 04 April 2014
Stocks across Europe finished with minor gains Thursday, with the Stoxx Europe 600 closing up 0.1 percent at 337.25 and ending with gains for the eighth consecutive session. Primark owner Associated British Foods advanced to 2,793.5 pence on analysts 'upgrade.

A decision by the European Central Bank (ECB) not to boost stimulus, together with lack-lustre economic data from the US ahead of the release of key jobs figures, coupled with weaker UK service sector growth, shaped the trading in Europe.

Shares at JD Sports fell and then rose slightly on Thursday morning as investors digested the new terms of Mike Ashley's polemical bonus will be more demanding. The previous day, the Board of Directors announced it had left aside their proposed 73 million pounds bonus package for the firm's founder, as it did not gather sufficient shareholder support.

Still in London, John Lewis sales rose 5.9 percent in the week to March 29th, cashing out on warm weather and gift-hunting for Mother's Day. Their online business stood up, gaining 39.5 percent.

ABF, parent group to Primark, was boosted after Citigroup hiked its target price for the stock from 2,350 pence to 3,000 pence. Meanwhile, luxury fashion brand Burberry slipped to 1,389.5 pence, dragged by the tough scenario for the luxury market drawn by Prada.

The Italian luxury label reported profits of 627.8 million euros for the year ending on 31 January. Its shares rushed more than 8 percent after the firm warned that sluggish sales in Europe and a maturing China luxury market could hurt profits. By the end of the day, the stock fell the most in two years on the warning.

It wasn´t a strong session in Asia either, although Fast Retailing managed to join the shakers´team Thursday with its stock up 1 percent after it said domestic sales for its Uniqlo chain rose 0.6 percent in March compared to a year earlier.

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