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LVMH pushes aside oil company Total to assume first place on the CAC 40

Translated by
Susan Spies
Published
today May 4, 2017
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Luxury giant LVMH is now at the head of the CAC 40 pack. On Wednesday at 4:45 pm, LVMH shares rose by 0.96% to 230.25 euros, with a market capitalization of 116.7 billion euros on the stock exchange, compared to Total's 115.8 billion euros, whose stock declined by 0.39% to 46.66 euros per share.  The moment marked another milestone for LVMH, for now the most valuable company on the benchmark French stock index.
 


AFP



“This is a first since the late 1980s, as usually big industrial companies dominated market capitalization," Andrea Tueni, an analyst at Saxo Bank, told AFP. “This is a small event on the CAC 40, which can be explained by several complicated years for oil prices, which has been a direct factor in Total's performance," he added.

The change is significant for the benchmark French stock index, and indicates just how healthy luxury companies are right now. Since the beginning of the year, LVMH shares have grown nearly 27%, with Kering recording an increase of more than 33%, the highest increase on the CAC 40.

Conversely, Total shares declined by about 4% over the same period, despite the CAC 40's growth of more than 8% in that time frame.

A record year

Andrea Tuéni thinks such a development is quite logical, as "oil prices [were] not doing very well since the beginning of the year, even if they jumped to over $ 50 a barrel recently. Most importantly, we are coming out of two years of declining prices, which has an impact on stocks like Total," the analyst said.

“At the same time, LVMH benefited from a favorable environment that allowed it to perform well and to do better on the stock market  with less volatility compared to Total," summarized Tuéni .

Sales at the world's largest luxury goods company jumped 15% in the first quarter to nearly ten billion euros, especially thanks to strong performances in some of its divisions. On April 25, LVMH announced that it would be simplifying its corporate structure with more direct control over the prestigious Dior house, one of the crown jewels in the empire of LVMH CEO and billionaire Bernard Arnault.

While the environment for luxury is currently quite promising, LVMH is cautious about its 2017 outlook. Its record results for 2016 exceeded expectations, driven by strong growth in Europe and the United States and an impressive rebound in China in the second half of the year. The group posted sales of 37.6 billion euros over the previous year, up 5%.

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