European stocks close far lower as SVB collapse fuels contagion fears


European stocks plunged sharply on Monday as rising concerns over the fallout from the Silicon Valley Bank collapse triggered heavy selling, particularly in the banking sector. Investors also awaited the ECB meeting and key inflation data due this week. Over the weekend, the U.S. Treasury, Federal Reserve, and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation said they would ‘fully protect’ depositors, including those with assets above the federally guaranteed $250,000 limit, but traders still went on a selling spree. Mirroring the sell-off in the space, Stoxx Europe 600 Banks Index fell nearly 6%, suffering the worst setback since early March 2022. The pan European Stoxx 600 drifted down 2.35%. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 lost 2.56%, Germany’s DAX dropped 2.86% and France’s CAC 40 fell 2.85%, while Switzerland’s SMI ended 1.14% down. Among other markets in Europe, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden and Turkiye lost 1 to 4%. Greece and Russia ended moderately lower. In the UK market, Standard Chartered tumbled nearly 7%. Beazley, Ashtead Group, Airtel Africa, Barclays, Burberry Group, Ocado Group, Prudential and Aviva lost 5 to 6.2%. CRH, Melrose Industries, Lloyds Banking Group, JD Sports Fashion, Natwest Group, BT Group, Informa, Shell and BT Group fell more than 4%. HSBC Holdings fell more than 4% after it acquired the U.K. subsidiary of Silicon Valley Bank for 1 British pound to ensure the continuity of banking services, minimize disruption to the U.K. technology sector and to maintain the confidence in the financial system. Endeavour Mining rallied 4.3% and Fresnillo gained about 3.5%. Severn Trent, Convatec Group, Admiral Group, National Grid and United Utilities gained 1.2 to 2.1%. In the German market, Commerzbank tanked nearly 12%. Covestro, Porsche, Continental, Deutsche Bank, HeidelbergCement, Siemens, Munich, Infineon Technologies, Allianz, BMW, MTU Aero Engines, Volkswagen, BASF and Siemens Energy lost 3 to 5.2%. SAP ended 2.7% down. The German software group has agreed to sell all of its 423 million shares of Qualtrics International Inc. as part of the acquisition of Qualtrics by funds affiliated with Silver Lake as well as Canada Pension Plan Investment Board. In Paris, BNP Paribas tumbled more than 6%. Societe Generale and Alstom both lost nearly 6%. AXA, ArcelorMittal, Saint Gobain, Renault, TotalEnergies, Kering, Stellantis, Safran, Capgemini, Michelin, Publicis Groupe and Airbus Group ended lower by 2.5 to 5.2%. In European economic news, Germany’s consumer price inflation held steady in February, as initially estimated, the latest data from Destatis showed. The consumer price index climbed 8.7% year-over-year in February, the same increase as in January. That was in line with the flash data published on March 1. In February, a slowdown in energy prices was offset by an acceleration in the price growth of food items, the agency said.Data from the customs office showed, France’s foreign trade deficit decreased to pound 12.9 billion in January from pound 14.7 billion in December, as imports fell faster than exports. In the corresponding month of 2022, the deficit totalled pound 8.6 billion. Exports decreased 2.2% from the previous month, and the fall in imports was 4.5%. On a yearly basis, exports were 9.8% higher in January. At the same time, imports registered a faster increase of 15.7%.

Source: Ghana News Agency