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LVMH eases fears over Hong Kong hit, lifting luxury stocks
SHARES in LVMH rose on Thursday, lifting other European luxury goods stocks as the Louis Vuitton owner's stronger-than-expected sales update eased fears of any major fallout from protests in Hong Kong on high-end brands.
Luxury labels rely on Hong Kong as a magnet for travellers and shoppers across Asia. Several months of pro-democracy protests have forced some retailers to close their doors temporarily and lose out on business there.
Helped by booming sales in its fashion and handbag division - home to Vuitton as well as the Christian Dior brand - LVMH shrugged off much of the hit from Hong Kong, with a strong performance in the rest of Asia, Europe and the United States.
Its shares were up 3.9 per cent in early morning trading, while the stock prices of rivals from Gucci owner Kering and Birkin-handbag maker Hermes to Germany's Hugo Boss and Britain's Burberry also rallied.
Cartier and IWC parent Richemont as well as Omega maker Swatch Group - among the most exposed groups to Hong Kong, a major centre for watch exports - profited from the stock market bounce. Sales growth in LVMH's watch division, home to brands such as Hublot, slowed less sharply than expected.
Some analysts have cautioned that LVMH may be an outlier in the industry, however.
It is riding high on massive investments in marketing and hot new designers for its top brands, and has benefited more than most from thriving demand for luxury wares from Chinese shoppers in recent years.
Gucci, Hermes and Italy's Moncler are also among the stronger performers, but some peers are struggling to attract younger customers or crack markets.
"We think it is more than likely that LVMH materially outperformed its direct peers," analysts at Morgan Stanley wrote in a note. REUTERS