European Trading Volumes Sink as Storm Shuts U.S. Markets

Trading volumes across Europe plummeted as the U.S. securities industry canceled equity trading on all markets, moving to protect workers as Hurricane Sandy barreled toward New York City.

The number of shares changing hands in companies listed on the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index, Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC 40 was more that 40 percent below the average of the last 30 days at the close of trading, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Volumes on the Euro Stoxx 50 Index (SX5E) of the biggest euro-region companies sank 47 percent, the data showed.

The Securities and Exchange Commission announced the market shutdown, which may extend through tomorrow, as the hurricane approached the U.S. East Coast with winds of as much as 85 miles (140 kilometers) per hour. Sandy is predicted to make landfall late today in southern New Jersey, then turn inland, according to an advisory from the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

“Without trading today in New York -- a very important indicator -- investors are not willing to act heavily and show a clear conviction for equities,” said Robert Halver, head of capital markets research at Baader Bank AG in Frankfurt.

Volume on the Stoxx Europe 600 Index dropped 36 percent, supported by a surge in Swiss trading. Some 42.8 million UBS AG (UBSN) shares changed hands as Switzerland’s largest bank was said to cut as many as 10,000 jobs. Trading in Swiss Market Index companies was 73 percent greater than the 30-day average, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Composite volume on the Stoxx 600 was the lowest since Sept. 3, while Euro Stoxx 50 volume was the least since Aug. 27, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jonathan Morgan in Frankfurt at jmorgan157@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew Rummer at arummer@bloomberg.net

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