LVMH Top-Ranking Brand on the French Stock Market

Louis Vuitton Men's Spring 2017 Collection
Louis Vuitton men's spring '17 collection on the runway at Paris Men's Fashion Week.
Swan Gallet/Fairchild.

In yet another clear sign of the luxury sector’s growing strength, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton on Wednesday supplanted petrol maker Total as the No. 1-ranked stock by market capitalization on the CAC 40.

It is the first time that the parent of such brands as Louis Vuitton, Guerlain, Moët & Chandon and Tag Heuer has held that position on the French market.

By the close of trading Wednesday, the luxury behemoth’s stock had risen 1.2 percent, to 230.85 euros, or $251.78 at current exchange rates, representing a market capitalization of 117.06 billion euros, or $127.69 billion.

Total shares, meanwhile, were down 0.2 percent, to 46.77 euros, or $51.02, which translates to a capitalization of 116.11 billion euros, or $126.63 billion.

LVMH has made a swift ascent on the CAC 40. Just a month ago, it was two rungs lower in the market’s ranking. Since the beginning of 2017, the company’s stock has climbed 25.7 percent.

That’s been powered in no small part by the news announced in late April — welcomed by analysts and investors — that Bernard Arnault had decided to bring Christian Dior Couture into the LVMH fold for 6.5 billion euros, or $7.09 billion.

In tandem, Groupe Arnault, the investment firm controlled by the Arnault family, said it would make an offer of up to 12.1 billion euros, or $13.2 billion, for the 25.7 percent stake in the Christian Dior Group that it currently does not control, using its remaining stake in Hermès International as partial payment, as reported.

LVMH also posted a 15 percent gain in revenues in the first quarter of the year, marking its strongest quarterly growth in five years. Sales in the January-to-March period reached 9.9 billion euros, or $10.55 billion at average exchange rates, significantly beating market expectations.

In contrast to the heady gains luxury companies have made since the start of 2017, including Kering at plus 33.5 percent, Total’s shares have declined 3.9 percent on the CAC 40.