Slump in SocGen, ECB policymakers’ hawkish tone weigh on European stocks

German share price index DAX graph is pictured at the stock exchange in Frankfurt

The German share price index DAX graph is pictured at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, September 15, 2023. REUTERS/Staff/File photo Acquire Licensing Rights

  • SocGen shares drop after new strategy flags little growth
  • Swiss drug ingredient maker Lonza’s CEO to leave, shares fall
  • Nordic Semiconductor falls after Q3 guidance cut
  • STOXX 600 down 1.1%

Sept 18 (Reuters) – European shares fell on Monday as French bank Societe Generale’s shares slumped after a keenly awaited strategic plan from its new CEO disappointed investors, while caution reigned ahead of a slew of central bank meetings this week.

The pan-European STOXX 600 (.STOXX) dropped 1.1% after rising close to 1.6% last week.

Societe Generale (SOGN.PA) plummeted 12.1% to more than two month lows after France’s third-biggest bank said it expected little, if any, growth in annual sales over the coming years.

The euro zone banks index (.SX7E) dipped 1.9%.

Dragging down the healthcare sector, Novo Nordisk shares (NOVOb.CO) lost 2.4% after a report showed that U.S. drug regulators had recently issued a report detailing quality control lapses at the group’s Clayton, North Carolina plant.

Rising bond yields across the euro zone pushed rate-sensitive real estate stocks (.SX86P) down 2.6% following hawkish remarks by European Central Bank policymakers after the central bank raised borrowing costs by 25 basis points last week.

Slovak policymaker Peter Kazimir said the ECB’s rate hike on Thursday might have been its last for now but policymakers would need until March to be sure and further rises could yet be ruled out.

In a busy week for central bank meetings, the Bank of England (BoE) is expected to hike rates for the 15th time on Thursday, while the Federal Reserve looks set to hold rates on Wednesday.

“While forward guidance is likely to be limited, we expect the (BoE’s) Monetary Policy Committee to strike a dovish tone indicating that a peak in the Bank Rate is near if not already reached,” said Kirstine Kundby-Nielsen, analyst at Danske Bank.

The Swedish crown sank to a record low against the euro on Monday, days before the Riksbank is expected to raise interest rates again.

Among other individual movers, Nordic Semiconductor ASA (NOD.OL) shed 9.9% after cutting its revenue guidance for the third quarter. Peer Fingerprint Cards (FINGb.ST) eased 10.0%.

Lonza’s (LONN.S) chief executive, Pierre-Alain Ruffieux, will leave the Swiss company by mutual agreement at the end of the month. This sent the contract drug manufacturer’s shares down 14.7% amid concerns about the group’s medium-term profit prospects.

Mondi(MNDI.L) rose 3.3% after the British paper and packaging company said it has agreed to sell its largest plant in Russia to a unit of Moscow-based real estate developer Sezar Group.

Reporting by Bansari Mayur Kamdar and Shashwat Chauhan in Bengaluru; editing by Varun H K, Savio D’Souza and Mark Heinrich

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Bansari reports on the global financial markets and writes Reuters’ daily flagship market reports on equities, bonds and currencies. An economist by training and winner of the Arthur MacEwan Award for Excellence in Political Economy, she has written for renowned global papers and magazines including The Diplomat, Boston Globe, Conversation, Huffington Post and more.

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