Barcelona attack dents travel stocks as global sell-off spreads to Europe

A screen displays the Dow Jones Industrial Average after the closing bell on the floor of the NYSE on August 17, 2017. (Reuters)

European travel stocks fell sharply in early trading on Friday after a deadly attack in tourist hotspot Barcelona, with investors also increasingly concerned the Trump administration was fraying at the seams.

As a global sell-off spread, the pan-European STOXX 600 was down 0.9 percent by 0725 GMT, with blue-chips down 1 percent, following falls in Asian and US stocks overnight. Travel and leisure stocks led sector losers, down 1.4 percent, with airlines the worst-performing as investors dropped stocks exposed to tourist flows.

Easyjet, Ryanair, British Airways owner IAG and Lufthansa were down 2.3 to 3.2 percent. Spanish airport company AENA fell 2 percent after Thursday’s attack, in which a suspected militant drove a van into crowds in central Barcelona, killing 13 people.

An electronic stock board shows the Hang Seng Index at a bank in Hong Kong, Aug. 18, 2017. (AP)

Risk-off moves

The risk-off moves also hit banks, down 1.2 percent, with Deutsche Bank and BNP Paribas among the worst performers. Though company news was thin on the ground, earnings drove some moves. Dutch storage firm Vopak fell 4.5 percent after it said profit would be 5 to 10 percent lower this year than last due to lower occupancy rates.

Fiat Chrysler fell 1.5 percent after Guangzhou Automobile denied it was planning to take over the Italian carmaker. Speculation over a potential Chinese buyer sent its shares soaring this week. The European earnings season was drawing to a close, with 86 percent of second-quarter company reports through.

Some 60 percent of these have beaten or met expectations, and earnings estimates were trending up, though they were still negative overall after being revised down sharply since the start of earnings season due to concerns about a stronger euro.

Last Update: Friday, 18 August 2017 KSA 11:20 - GMT 08:20

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