European Stocks

December 6, 2011 by staff 

European Stocks, European equities finished weaker in a choppy, thinly-traded session on Tuesday, led lower by retail shares after the world’s No.4 retailer Metro issued a profit warning saying the euro zone debt crisis was undermining consumer confidence.

A warning by Standard & Poor’s it may cut credit ratings of 15 euro zone countries added to investor jitters, although optimism that leaders would agree on bold measures to stem the region’s debt crisis at a Friday meet helped limit losses.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares closed 0.4 percent lower at 989.67 points after falling as low as 985.67. It has gained about 11 percent since hitting a three-week low in late November, but is down 11.5 percent so far in 2011. Volume was 77.5 percent of its 90-day average.

German retailer Metro was the biggest faller, down 13.9 percent in volume nearly six times its 90-day daily average, while the STOXX Europe 600 Retail Index fell 2.1 percent to top the sector decliners’ list.

“It is unnerving, but not unexpected, to see a major retailer waiver so early into the Christmas season,” Will Hedden, sales trader at IG Markets, said.

“Blame for the wobble is being attributed to weakness in European trading outside of its backbone German business, and it is hard to see this changing as the effects of the debt crisis and austerity in Europe filter down to the man on the street.”

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