French stocks sensitive to the economy and to tourism fell in an otherwise buoyant market on Monday after the worst riots in decades swept Paris, stirring concerns about the possible damage from visitors steering clear of the capital.
Supermarket Carrefour and highway operator Vinci were the worst-performing, down 2.1 and 2.6 percent respectively. Shares in hotel chain Accor and airline Air France fell by 1.6 and 2.7 percent.
Nationwide protests against fuel taxes and living costs, known as the "yellow vest" movement after fluorescent jackets kept in all vehicles in France, escalated on Saturday as rioters ran amok across central Paris, torching cars and looting shops.
Macron to call on US funds to build French start-ups, not steal them
French President Emmanuel Macron will urge a visiting group of top Silicon Valley venture capitalists this week to invest in the nation's start-ups while calling on them not to "steal" the best creations, four sources told Reuters.The discreet event, not mentioned in Macron's official schedule, comes at a tough time for the French leader after rioters looted and ransacked boutiques and businesses in central Paris, chaotic images beamed around the world.Executives from some of the biggest names in U.S. tech funding, including Andreessen Horowitz, Sequoia Capital and General Atlantic, are among the 40 expected in Paris on Wednesday and Thursday for a tour of the French startup scene.Egypt, France begin war games in Red SeaThe two-day roadshow includes presentations from what sources called tech 'superstars' already investing in France as well as visits to hubs such as the Station F tech incubator in eastern Paris.But instead of simply urging them to invest in France, Macron, who is scheduled to host the investors at the Elysee palace on Thursday evening, will also tell the U.S. funds to help French businesses to flourish rather than pushing the best French entrepreneurs to move to the United States."Today, many French companies raise money in the U.S., and the usual reflex of U.S venture capitalists is to tell them: 'come to the United States then'," a source at Macron's office told Reuters.France's Macron learns the hard way: green taxes carry political risksFrance's Macron visits Arc de Triomphe after Saturday Paris riots"We will tell them: it's an ecosystem, your best interest is to do like in Britain and Israel: invest here and don't move everything (to the U.S.)," the source said.The event was scheduled before the nationwide protests that turned the French capital into a battle zone and the format of Macron's appearance has yet to be finalised, sources said.With his authority challenged by the "yellow vest" protesters, who sprawled anti-capitalist slogans on banks and luxury boutiques on Saturday, Macron has his work cut out to counter the damage done to France's image.Brexit BenefitThe French tech scene has seen a boom in recent years, helped by Macron's efforts to turn France into a "startup nation", as a new generation of tech-savvy entrepreneurs less interested in government careers tap into the large pool of engineers that France's top universities produce every year.'Yellow vest' protests spread to NetherlandsMacron vows punishment for violent Paris protestsMacron aides say France's tech sector is poised to take advantage of Britain's planned exit from the EU to overtake its major European rival."We think the French ecosystem will outgrow the one in England in the coming years," is one of the messages the U.S. investors will hear, the Elysee source said. Goldman Sachs and private equity fund KKR are also among the attendees.But French companies say the most promising startups need access to bigger funding rounds if they are to stay. Investments are not large enough to create "unicorns" worth more than $1 billion. So far this year, only two French firms have closed investment rounds of more than 100 million euros.France to consider state of emergency to prevent riots recurringFrench police clash with 'yellow vest' protesters in Paris, 122 arrestedInstead, successful French startups get snapped up by U.S. rivals, with social mapping firm Zenly's acquisition by SnapChat last year particularly riling the French tech scene.Investors on the two-day visit will tour Station F, a startup campus funded by telecoms billionaire Xavier Niel. They will meet entrepreneurs such as David Gurle, boss of U.S. encrypted messaging service Symphony, who moved its research centre to a technology park in southeastern France.Among other U.S. tech figures who have chosen to relocate to France and who will make pitches are Tony Fadell, a developer of Apple's iPhone, and Ian Rogers, a former executive at its media player iTunes, now chief digital officer of luxury group LVMH. French police brace for more violent protests over rising fuel costsMacron, Abe to discuss Renault-Nissan at G20 as feud brews
Investors and traders connected the stock falls to investors' unease over the potential impact riots could have on the economy and on tourists' appetite to visit the capital.
"Accor is falling, and it is fair to say that investors are wondering if there will be cancellations at their hotels," said Jerome Schupp, a fund manager at Geneva-based firm Prime Partners.
"It's not good to see those images of a major capital," said a trader. "It could hurt the economy."
Highway operator Vinci Autoroutes said the "yellow vest" protests were continuing to have a major impact, although it did not specify any figures in a press release on Monday morning.
French PM meets opposition as Macron seeks way out of 'yellow vest' crisis
France's prime minister held talks with opposition party leaders on Monday as President Emmanuel Macron sought a way to defuse nationwide protests over high living costs that led to widespread rioting and vandalism in Paris at the weekend.The "yellow vest" revolt caught Macron unawares when it erupted on Nov. 17 and poses a formidable challenge to the 40-year-old as he tries to counter a plunge in popularity over his economic reforms, which are seen as favouring the wealthy.Riot police were overrun on Saturday as protesters wrought havoc in Paris's fanciest neighbourhoods, torching dozens of cars, looting boutiques and smashing up luxury private homes and cafes in the worst disturbances the capital has seen since 1968.France's Macron learns the hard way: green taxes carry political risksOn Monday, protesters were blocking access to 11 fuel depots belonging to the oil company Total, and 75 of its filling stations had run dry, a company spokesman said.The "yellow vest" movement, whose supporters cut across age, job profile and geographical region, began online as an impromptu rebellion against higher fuel prices but has morphed into a broader outpouring of anger over the squeeze that living costs are putting on middle-class household budgets.The movement, whose members span the political spectrum and include radical fringe elements, has no clear leadership, making talks all the more complicated for the government.France's Macron visits Arc de Triomphe after Saturday Paris riotsTheir core demand is a freeze on further planned fuel tax increases -- the next is due in January -- and measures to help bolster spending power. But they have also called for Macron to go, and many talk up the idea of revolution.The government is struggling for a way to engage."Making a small gesture and then sweeping the problem under the carpet, just as has always been done for the last 30 years, does nothing to solve the deeper, structural problems," government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux told France Inter radio."It will just start over six months down the line ... That wouldn't be respectful of anyone."Macron vows punishment for violent Paris protestsPublic support for the "yellow vests" remains high, with seven in 10 people backing their protest, a Harris Interactive opinion poll conducted after Saturday's unrest suggested.Anti-Establishment AngerMacron says the increased fuel taxes are part of his effort to combat climate change, wanting to persuade French drivers to exchange diesel-fuelled cars for less polluting models. He said on Saturday he would not deviate from his policy goals.As governments from around the world began a two-week conference in Poland to try to pin down measures to avert the most damaging consequences of global warming, the protests highlighted how costly some of those actions are likely to be.France to consider state of emergency to prevent riots recurringChristophe Chalencon, one of around eight semi-official spokespeople for the "yellow vests", told BFM TV he would not enter talks only to "negotiate over peanuts".Laurent Wauquiez, head of the biggest opposition party, the centre-right Les Republicains, has called for a referendum on Macron's energy transition plan. Jean-Luc Melenchon, head of the hard-left La France Insoumise (France Unbowed), and Marine Le Pen, head of the far-right, have called for parliament to be dissolved and snap elections held.The hitherto uncompromising response of Macron, a former investment banker, has only reinforced a view among the hard-pressed middle-class and blue-collar workers that he is part of an urban elite contemptuous of their world.French police clash with 'yellow vest' protesters in Paris, 122 arrestedThe anti-establishment anger spurring the yellow vests on could spell trouble for Macron in next year's European elections. These are traditionally fertile ground for the far-right and Le Pen already leads surveys of voting intentions.Saturday's unrest was the worst in central Paris since a student uprising five decades ago. At times, riot police appeared overwhelmed. The Arc de Triomphe, a unifiying national monument that houses the tomb of the unknown soldier, was defaced, and a bust of national symbol Marianne was smashed.French police brace for more violent protests over rising fuel costsMacron says global experts needed for Khashoggi probes
Traders said the earnings conglomerate Vinci gets from its motorway concessions could be hit by the protests, which have blocked toll roads across France.
Oil major Total said on Monday several dozen of its gasoline stations had run dry as a more than two-week long protest over fuel tax hikes began to impact fuel reserves and distribution.
The falls came even as France's top stock index climbed 1.7 percent, on track for its best day in a month after a truce in the U.S.-China trade war lifted global markets.
Total says fuel stations running dry due to 'yellow vest' protests
"Yellow vest" protesters are blocking access to 11 of Total's fuel depots in France and fuel stations are beginning to run dry, a company spokesman said on Monday.Seventy five of the company's 2,200 gas stations were out of fuel, the spokesman said.For more than two weeks, protesters angry over the fuel taxes and the high cost of living have been blocking roads across France, impeding access to fuel depots, shopping malls and some airports. On Saturday, street demonstrations turned violent in Paris.Video: 'Yellow Vest' protests spread from France to the Netherlands
France must speed up tax cuts, says Finance Minister Le Maire
French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire on Monday said tax cuts should be accelerated, and by consequence the pace of public spending cuts quickened, to foster greater prosperity for all citizens."We cannot take away with one hand what we are giving to those who are working with our other hand, and therefore as a consequence we have to speed up our tax cut plans," Le Maire told reporters at a news conference."Less public spending and less taxes, those are the conditions needed to put France back on the right track, those are the conditions for the prosperity of all French people, those are the conditions to get us out of our debt burden," he added.Egypt, France begin war games in Red SeaFrance's Macron learns the hard way: green taxes carry political risksFrance's Macron visits Arc de Triomphe after Saturday Paris riots'Yellow vest' protests spread to Netherlands