Stockholm shares fall as market fears poor reports

Shares in Stockholm fell 3.4 percent by on Tuesday, following a series of heavy falls in the first two weeks of the year.

Cheap-and-trendy clothing giant Hennes & Mauritz was among the losers on Tuesday, as the markets reacted to weak American retail figures, a pessimistic report on the German economy and falling markets in Asia.

At close, the OMXS Index had fallen 3.4 percent to 314.9. The Stockholm market has now fallen 10.5 percent since the start of the year.

According to Ronny Jacobsson, markets chief at Swedbank, the markets are now being driven by the psychology of fear, with the forthcoming company reports season putting investors on edge.

“People are absorbing the fact that lower consumption and lower growth will be reflected in the prognoses due to be released during the reporting period. That’s what people are discounting at the moment,” Jacobsson said.

Shares in H&M fell 4.6 percent to 325 kronor. Engineering company Sandvik, which had risen sharply on Monday, fell 7.5 percent to 89.25 kronor after US competitor Kennametall reported lower-than-expected orders in the fourth quarter. Atlas Copco fell 5.9 percent to 84.25 kronor.

Bank SEB fell 4.5 percent to 149.50 kronor. Competitor Nordea fell 3.8 percent to 96.40 kronor.

Share prices in Stockholm are being dictated entirely by expectations rather than by any concrete news, Jacobsson said. Barely any Swedish listed companies have actually said that things are looking worse or have publicly revised expectations downwards.

“There’s not new information that can be linked to this downturn. The report period will give us the answer,” he said.