Germany's federal statistical office said December spending fell 2.5% compared with the previous month -- despite the Christmas season -- and 2.4% compared with December 2012. Meanwhile, in neighboring France, overall household spending was down just 0.1%, buoyed by in part by exceptional auto sales, ahead of higher tax rates for the most polluting vehicles which came into force at the new year. But sales of winter clothing were weaker than forecast.
LONDON ( The Deal) -- Still rattled by the chaos on emerging markets, European bourses fell further Friday as consumer spending figures turned out dramatically worse than expected in Germany, and less bad than expected -- but hardly good -- in France.
But luxury goods have been doing well. French cognac to handbags group LVMH, which makes Moet & Chandon champagne and owns the Louis Vuitton brand, reported a 2% rise in net fourth-quarter sales of 8.4 billion euros after the markets closed on Thursday. The world's largest luxury goods company rose over 6% in morning trading to about 131 euros a share. LVMH pulled up other luxury goods makers in its wake.
One of London's biggest risers was U.K. cable and telecoms company BT, which reported unexpectedly good figures, after splashing out on sports rights last year to lure new viewers to its TV offering. With 2.5 million subscribers to its premium BT Sports channel last quarter, BT said pretax profits for the three months to December were up 8% compared with the same quarter in 2012 at 722 million pounds and earnings per share up 6% at 7.3 pence.
But Swedish household appliances maker Electrolux was an example of what was happening in the wider consumer market. Its shares fell over 7% after its sales and earnings both missed forecasts on weak demand for white goods in Europe.
Most Asian markets were closed Friday at the start of the Lunar New Year, but Japan's export-oriented Nikkei 225 closed down yet again at 14,914 as the yen strengthened against the dollar. The day started well on news that Japanese inflation rose to 1.3% in December, a five-year high, that just about keeps the Bank of Japan's 2% target within range. But analysts at Credit Suisse later spoiled the mood, saying inflation could fall back without further easing.
Globally, the bullish mood at the turn of the year has turned sour over the past couple of weeks, and this January is now looking to be the weakest since 2010.