Listed agri tumbles in Q4

French stocks were a rare good news story on their side of the Atlantic, though European stocks vastly outperformed their US peers in the whole of 2017.

Listed agribusiness accentuated mild losses on European stock exchanges in the final quarter of the year, falling below the -0.4 percent posted by the MSCI Europe and closing the period at -1.5 percent.

Much of the fall in the IAA 80, an index comprising 80 listed stocks throughout Western Europe, can be attributed to small-caps, which fell 5.1 percent in Q4. The Scottish Salmon and Danish brewer Harboes Bryggeri were the worst performers, at -27.5 percent and -18.9 percent respectively. Companies at the bigger end, in contrast, fared better (their stocks rose 1 percent).

Over the longer-term, however, the IIA 80 displayed solid form, beating the MSCI benchmark on both one-year and 10-year horizons. European agri stocks benefited from an 8.1 percent uplift in 2017, helping bring performance over the decade to 6.3 percent.

FR 14, the French sub-index was a remarkable outlier, climbing 7.3 percent in Q4 and 22 percent over the year, vastly surpassing the CAC 40 benchmark. Processed vegetable group Bonduelle jumped 24.2 percent in 2017, while spirits maker Remy Cointreau gained 42.5 percent. Eurogerm, a bread ingredient specialist, progressed 14.4 percent in Q4 alone.

By and large, European agribusiness stocks did much better than their US peers in 2017. The latter finished the year at – 5.4 percent, despite a 4.8 percent bump in Q4. Over 10 years, however, the picture is reverse: the US 57, another index compiled by Unigrains, gained nearly 9 percent a year.

The French group said US agri stocks had suffered less from the 2008 crisis and benefited from a stronger dollar from 2014 onwards.