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Brussels Bombings Shake Europe Markets

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Airlines and hotel stocks slid after multiple explosions in Brussels, leading a second day of declines in European shares.

Air France-KLM Group, Ryanair Holdings Plc and hotel operator Accor SA slipped 3 percent or more, dragging travel and leisure shares to the worst performance on the Stoxx Europe 600 Index. The benchmark fell 1 percent at 1:18 p.m. in London, paring an earlier drop of as much as 1.6 percent.

Bomb blasts rocked Brussels airport and a central subway station Tuesday, causing at least 34 deaths and dozens of injuries. Flights in and out of Brussels were canceled and security precautions were stepped up at travel hubs around Europe. While travel stocks are falling today, history has shown that such reactions tend to be short-lived.


“The stock reaction is reflecting a cautious attitude from investors after the attack,’’ said Pierre Mouton, who manages about $9 billion at Notz, Stucki & Cie. in Geneva. “While it may put some investors off Europe because of the perception of increased geopolitical risk, I don’t see it as weighing long term on stocks, beyond the initial reaction.”

The following shares are also active after the attacks:

  • Groupe Eurotunnel SE, which operates rail tunnels between England and France, slid 3.6 percent.
  • Assicurazioni Generali SpA, Standard Life Plc and Axa SA are leading declines among European insurers, down at least 2.3 percent.
  • Swedish firm Securitas AB, whose services include airport security, rose 2.8 percent.

The VStoxx Index of volatility expectations in euro-area shares gained 7.5 percent, trimming an earlier surge of as much as 11 percent. The volume of Stoxx 600 shares changing hands was 18 percent lower than the 30-day average, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

The Stoxx 600 hasn’t posted back-to-back gains in more than a week, a sign that the rally that pushed it to a two-month high may be running out of steam. Before that, the gauge rebounded as much as 14 percent since a Feb. 11 low, helped by optimism over central-bank policies.

Banks and miners, which led the recent rally, were the worst performers after travel-related shares today. Banco Popolare SC fell 3 percent after people familiar with the matter said it’s planning to raise funds through a share sale, bad loan and asset disposals to meet the European Central Bank’s approval for a merger with Banca Popolare di Milano Scarl.

Thomas Cook Group Plc lost 4.8 percent after saying 2016 summer bookings have been lower than last year. Sports Direct International Plc tumbled 8.3 percent after the Times cited founder Mike Ashley as saying the retailer can’t match last year’s profit. 

Partners Group Holding AG jumped 6.1 percent after its sales and earnings exceeded estimates. Bellway Plc gained 3.9 percent after its first-half profit surged.

Concern about attacks in the capital of the European Union overshadowed reports on the euro-area economy. Manufacturing and services in the region expanded more than estimated, while German business confidence improved for the first time in four months, data showed.