StockBeat: Luxury Leads as Kering, Moncler Shrug off HK Blues

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By Geoffrey Smith — When the world economy slows down and times get tough, do you want to be in the business of selling low-cost comforts to the masses, or high-end puffer jackets and handbags to the fortunate few?

Friday’s results from around Europe suggest the latter: Anheuser Busch Inbev (BR:), the world’s largest brewer, fell 9.5% after it for the performance of its newly-spun-off Asian unit in response to falling shipments in China, while it noted that its U.S. division also weakened.

The development will give some grim satisfaction to investors who baulked at Inbev’s original price for the unit when it first tried to sell it earlier this year. That forced the giant brewer into carving out its Australian assets into a separate business before finally selling it at the bottom of a revised range second time around.

The third-quarter results led AB Inbev to cut its full-year earnings growth forecast to ‘moderate’ from ‘strong’.

It was quite a different story at Gucci owner Kering (PA:), whose shares leapt 6.5%, putting it at the top of the , after it said strong sales elsewhere more than compensated for the hit to sales at its Hong Kong boutiques in the three months to September. Kering’s sales in the Asia-Pacific region were still up nearly 17% on the year.

Kering’s shares hit their highest since July and are now only 4% short of the all-time high they hit earlier this year.

Likewise, fashion group Moncler (MI:), famous for its expensive puffer jackets, rose 8.1% to its highest in six weeks after posting a 10% rise in currency-adjusted sales in the third quarter – despite a 40% drop in sales in Hong Kong. The Asia and the rest of the world region accounts for 40% of the group’s revenue as a rule.

Luxury names were the main prop to Europe’s big boards on Friday, as markets retreated from the week’s highs against a backdrop of fresh political uncertainty in the U.K. By 5:05 AM ET (1105 GMT), the benchmark Euro was down 0.3% at 396.28, while the was down 0.4%.

The German performed slightly better after the closely-watched stayed unchanged in October, adding to evidence that Europe’s largest economy .

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