European Stocks Follow Asian Shares Lower; Mining Stocks Fall

LONDON (The Deal) -- European markets followed Asia down Monday, with mining stocks leading the way on falling gold, silver, copper and iron ore prices.

In London, an even bigger faller weighed on sentiment, as the nation's largest supermarket reported it had mistakenly overstated its first half profit by an eye-watering 250 million pounds ($408 million). Tesco (TSCDY) plummeted 11.3% in early trading, though it rallied somewhat later, and said it had suspended four senior directors and appointed accountants Deloitte LLP to conduct a review of its processes. By mid-morning it was still down 8.4% at 210 pence.

On a feistier note, London-listed private-equity firm Electra rose 0.83% to 2,683 pence after publishing a scathing counterblast to last week's attack by New York activist investor Edward Bramson and his Sherborne Investors vehicle. Sherborne has been seeking two seats on the mid-market private-equity firm's board and the right to lead a review of its strategy, claiming it could improve claiming the aggregate value of shareholdings in Electra could be increased by more than 1 billion pounds ($1.63 billion) with lower risks and less volatility. But Electra savaged what it said were its unverifiable statements and unsubstantiated claims. It urged shareholders to vote against the appointment of Bramson and his nominee Ian Brindle at a meeting requisitioned at Sherborne's request in October.

One of Britain's newest banks, Aldermore Group, announced its intention to float on the London Stock Exchange with a sale of new and existing shares. The bank specializes in lending to small and medium businesses and homeowners looking for a mortgage. With no branch network to finance and no legacy of fines and mistrust for past misdeeds, it believes it has an advantage over the big lenders. It plans to raise 75 million pounds from the sale of new shares, while private equity shareholder AnaCap Financial Partners LLP will also sell shares.

In Paris, Franco-Dutch airline Air France-KLM  (AFLYY) lost further altitude as a damaging pilots' strike went into its second week. The stock was down 1.70% at 7.92 euros.

In Paris, the CAC 40 was down 0.17% at 4,453, while in London the FTSE 100 was down 0.86% at 6.779. Frankfurt's DAX index was down 0.28% at 9,771.88.

However, it is China's slowing industrial momentum, together with rising fears about leverage in the Chinese economy that seem to be behind a wider slump, especially on the oil and mining-heavy FTSE 100. Beijing has signaled new stimulus measures may not be on the way. Chinese finance minister Lou Jiwei reportedly said Sunday that the government has no plans to change its current policy just because the figures are weak. Mining company Rio Tinto (RIO) was down 3.10% at 3,080.50 pence, while its rival Anglo American was down 2.68% at 1,432.50 pence. Commodities colossus Glencore was down 2.7% at 349.75 pence.

In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 lost 0.71% to close at 16,205.9, Hong Kong's Hang Seng index retreated 1.44% to 23,955.49 and China's Shanghai composite plunged 1.7% to 2,289.87. 

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