London Regains Europe’s Stock Market Crown, Lifted By Oil Surge

London has recaptured its crown as Europe’s largest stock market from Paris, lifted by surging crude oil prices.

(Bloomberg) — London has recaptured its crown as Europe’s largest stock market from Paris, lifted by surging crude oil prices. 

The combined market capitalization of primary listings in London — excluding ETFs and ADRs — is now $2,888.4 billion versus Paris’s $2,887.5 billion, according to an index compiled by Bloomberg. 

London had lost its status as Europe’s biggest stock market last November, extending an equity slump that stretched back to Britain’s vote to leave the European Union in 2016. But the market, heavily weighted to commodity stocks, including blue chips Shell Plc and BP Plc, has outperformed recently due to rising oil prices.

“The UK has held up better due to its sector mix,” said Janet Mui, head of market analysis at RBC Brewin Dolphin, “The energy sector is a low-duration play which can hedge against more interest rate or inflation-sensitive secular growth exposure,” she added.

Paris on the other hand has lost ground, as signs of China’s economic slowdown weigh on the French luxury goods sector. That has knocked companies such as LVMH and Gucci parent Kering off the record highs hit earlier this year. 

Meanwhile, there are signs that recent inflation data could draw a line under the Bank of England’s rate-rise campaign. It held rates steady in September after a string of 14 successive policy-tightening moves and traders are betting it will do so again at its November 2 meeting. 

The expectations have in turn weakened the pound. It has slid about 2% in the past month, crucial for an index packed with exporters’ stocks. 

Still, among smaller UK shares more-exposed to Britain’s economy, the outlook is murkier.

“We have seen some poor trading statements from UK mid-caps, suggesting destocking trends and delayed spending appear to be continuing longer than expected,” said Tineke Frikkee, head of UK equity research at Waverton Investment Management.

Overall, global investors have continued to shun the UK market, according to the Bank of America Corp. fund managers survey in October. Allocation to the country’s stocks have dropped three percentage points compared with last month to a net 25% underweight, the most underweight investors have been on UK equities since October 2022.

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