Rolls-Royce shares nosedive on latest profit warning
A grim profits warning from Rolls-Royce sent the British engine maker’s shares crashing by more than a fifth on Thursday, as a raft of disappointing earnings rocked European equities.
The company’s share price slumped 22.6 percent to 516 pence around midday in London after Rolls delivered its fourth profits warning in a year.
Rolls-Royce said 2016 profits would take a hit of £650 million ($986 million/918 million euros) as a result of weak demand in its aerospace and marine markets. That compared with a previous estimate of £300 million given in July.
In addition, the group cautioned that 2015 pre-tax profit would be “at the lower end” of its forecast range of between £1.32 billion and £1.47 billion.
“While 2015 remains broadly as expected, the outlook for 2016 is very challenging,” CEO Warren East declared.
Elsewhere in Europe, there were gloomy results in the energy sector. In Frankfurt, shares in German giant RWE tanked 8.19 percent to 11.44 euros after saying 2015 profits would “only just” meet the company’s forecast range of between 1.1 billion euros and 1.3 billion euros.
RWE added that profits slid in the nine months to September, hit by an operating loss at its troubled British division Npower.
The second biggest faller in Frankfurt was peer E.ON, whose stock sank 3.42 percent to 8.86 euros.
In Madrid, Repsol shares dived 4.91 percent to 11,52 euros after the Spanish oil giant revealed that it swung into the red in the third quarter.
The company posted a net loss of 221 million euros ($237 million) in the July-September period, and blamed lower oil prices and US asset writedowns.
Investor sentiment was also subdued as traders awaited a speech from US Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen hoping for clues about US interest rates.
“A cavalcade of concerns left the European indices in a uniform shade of red this morning, including a truly nightmarish performance from Rolls-Royce,” said analyst Connor Campbell at traders Spreadex.
“The doom and gloom from the continent’s Thursday earnings releases comes ahead of afternoon comments from Janet Yellen, the Fed chair boosted by last week’s knock-out non-farm report.
“If Yellen appear more hawkish in light of last Friday’s figures then the day’s sell-off may only intensify, dragging a so-far resilient Dow into the mix.”
The euro was meanwhile under pressure on Thursday after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said economic risks to the region were “clearly visible,” stoking speculation over more stimulus measures.
Nearing midday, London’s benchmark FTSE 100 index fell 0.6 percent, Frankfurt’s DAX 30 shed 0.5 percent and the CAC 40 in Paris lost 1.0 percent compared with Wednesday’s close.
“There’s little doubt that some tough earnings figures are currently weighing on European markets, but there’s also an impression that investors are very much waiting on Janet Yellen’s speech,” added ETX Capital analyst Daniel Sugarman.
“All it would take is a couple of sentences to dramatically change the market mood.”
Last Friday’s forecast-beating US jobs report reinforced recent data showing the world’s biggest economy is picking up, stoking speculation over a December rate hike.
However, analysts said markets are uneven as the Fed mulls a lift-off, while other central banks — particularly in Europe, China and Japan — hint at further easing to kickstart growth at home.