World Cup expected to slow global financial market

Trading across European financial markets is expected to slow next month when investors take their eyes off the ball and instead watch the FIFA World Cup. "Trading volumes did fall four years ago, I expect it will be worse this time," said Simon Denham, chief operating officer at financial spreadbetting firm Capital Spreads. "Very few organisations, either in the Frankfurt or London financial communities, did not buy tickets," Peter Csanadi, director of communications for iSE Hospitality, which has sold executive seats and boxes for the month-long tournament, told Mark Meadows and Quentin Webb of Reuters. London banks had bought about 20,000 of the 350,000 hospitality tickets available, Csanadi added.

Concerns that football will overshadow new deals has already compelled some companies to bring forward sales of equity or debt to beat the start of the tournament. Data from French bank Societe Generale shows sales of investment-grade European corporate bonds during the Japan and South Korea tournament in June 2002 made up just 8.8 percent of the year's total. This was a smaller proportion than in any other year between 2001 and 2005.

"If the banks want to maintain trading volumes they should let the traders view the games from their desks instead of them wandering down to local hostelries," said Henk Potts, investment manager at Barclays Stockbrokers.

See also: HR Minister's World Cup advice: Take your leave! (17 Apr)