China cheer muted as Deutsche Bank sets European nerves jangling

Mon Jan 20, 2014 4:57am EST
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By Marc Jones

LONDON (Reuters) - Big losses for Germany's biggest bank meant European markets started the week on a sour note on Monday as slightly better than expected Chinese data failed to dispel a general air of caution.

Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE: Quote) reported a surprise pre-tax loss of 1.15 billion euros for the fourth quarter of 2013 due to heavy costs for litigation, restructuring and balance sheet reduction.

The bank was originally scheduled to report its results on January 29, but opted to release them early after the Wall Street Journal on Friday reported that a profit warning was possible.

Its shares opened down more than 5 percent, dragging down bank stocks across the region as Germany's Dax , down 0.3 percent, also led the region's list of losing bourses.

Liquidity was lacking with U.S. markets closed on Monday for a holiday. The Dow Jones index .DJI ended last week with a slim gain of 0.1 percent, while the S&P 500 .SPX lost 0.2 percent for the week.

In Asia, a majority of share markets in the region had stayed in the red last week, with Tokyo off 0.5 percent .N225, Sydney .AXJO 0.3 percent and Shanghai 0.5 percent .SSEC, adding to a miserable few weeks.

China's annual economic growth slowed a tick to 7.7 percent last quarter, which was just ahead of market forecasts for 7.6 percent and at least countered fears that monetary tightening might have caused a sharper pullback.

"The economy may be a little more robust than people thought coming into 2014," said Tim Condon, an economist at ING Group in Singapore.   Continued...

An office worker walks past the board of the Australian Securities Exchange building displaying its logo in central Sydney April 5, 2013. REUTERS/Daniel Munoz