Cosmetics companies suffer stock market hit from Brexit

Published: 28-Jun-2016

EU referendum vote sends shockwaves through financial markets

Stock markets across the world have entered a state of shock following the result of the UK referendum on membership of the European Union.

The value of the pound dropped to a 31-year low and more than £125bn was wiped off the FTSE 100 on Friday alone.

Since the initial shock when markets opened on Friday the FTSE 100 has shown some signs of stabilising, though the FTSE 250 appears to have taken a bigger hit with companies listed thought to rely less on international trade.

For cosmetics companies and retailers, the results were mixed. Here are some of the biggest losers and winners so far.

Shares at Unilever were up 1.2% as markets closed on Monday. With much of its profits coming from outside of Europe, the company is better protected from volatility in the region. Its diverse portfolio and focus on low-priced goods that consumers will continue to purchase throughout a crisis has also protected it from much of the fallout.

Reckitt Benckiser
Another company to benefit from its international focus is Reckitt Benckiser, which is focused on emerging markets. Its share price remained relatively stable over the initial Brexit shock period. The Motley Fool suggested the company as one of its "Brexit-proof stocks", forecasting that its earnings would increase 7% this year.

Henkel resisted the drop in share prices on Friday morning after it announced the acquisition of Sun Products – a group of detergent brands.

Avon is due to relocate to Britain later this year, following the sale of its North American business in March. The value of its shares has dropped by more than 8% since last week but the company remains confident about its outlook. In a statement issued on Friday, the company said: “Avon operates in many markets around the world with diverse political and economic structures and our business model is able to adapt to local circumstances. It’s business as usual for Avon in the UK today, and our priorities do not change.”

Britain’s largest luxury brand could potentially benefit from the Brexit fall out as the falling value of the pound could make London a more attractive destination for tourists from the US and Asia. Shares in the company dropped sharply on Friday morning but have since begun to recover.

Shares in AS Watson-owner CK Hutchinson have dropped more than 8% – one of the biggest losses on the Hong Kong stock market. Chairman Li Ka-shing warned the UK against a vote for Brexit as companies in the group including Savers and Superdrug have a heavy presence in Europe and will feel the challenges presented by the leave vote more keenly than other Asian businesses.

Travel retail
Airlines and travel retailers are expected to suffer in the coming months. EasyJet has seen the value of its stock drop by almost a quarter and British Airways has issued a profit warning. Currency fluctuations will certainly impact their profits this year and this could be worsened if consumers delay or cancel travel plans in response to the crisis.

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