LONDON (The Deal) -- In literary circles they call it the pathetic fallacy: If the market goes up the sun shines, if the market is in a black mood, we have storms. Well, it's certainly a fallacy Thursday. A brief sunny interlude this morning after a week of storms, and the market slides gloomily after a week of gains.
Big fallers in London and Paris Thursday were
Lloyds Banking Group
, which lost over 4% despite swinging into profit for 2013, and
which also fell about 4%. Why? Lloyds has yet to prove that its long run of provisions for miss-selling to retail and small business customers is coming to an end. So far it's set aside over $16 billion for compensation payments. And the French bank announced this morning it will take a $1.1 billion provision in the fourth quarter relating to a possible violations of U.S. economic sanctions.
British sugar and sweeteners group T
ate & Lyle fell nearly 17% after saying prices for its sucralose sweetener -- sold under the Splenda brand by
Johnson & Johnson's McNeil Nutritionals -- will fall faster than previously expected this year. And to add to London's woes, aircraft engine maker
Rolls Royce fell about 14% after warning U.S. defense cuts mean revenue and underlying profits in the coming year will be flat for the first time in a decade.
By mid-morning, London's FTSE 100 was down 0.61% at 6634, while in Paris, the CAC40 was down 0.22% at 4296. In Frankfurt, where German lender
Commerzbank gained 2% after generating a profit despite a costly restructuring program, the DAX was also down 0.22% at 9519.
Europe's gloom followed similar reversals in Asia overnight. Doubts set in about the value of Wednesday's better-than-expected trading data from China and an unexpected increase in unemployment in Australia combined with a stronger Japanese yen to weaken markets across the region. In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 closed down 1.79% at 14,534, in China, the Shanghai Composite fell 0.55% to 2,098 and in Hong Kong the Hang Seng was down 0.54% at 22,165. In Sydney, Australia the ASX 200 was almost flat, after a week of gains, at 5308.
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