European stocks finished deep in the red; The biggest losers in Europe
European stocks finished Tuesday deep in the red, amid fears of a crisis in emerging markets and trade tensions between the U.S. and major economies.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 slipped to a two-month low during trade, finishing the session provisionally 0.7 percent lower, with almost all sectors seeing red.
The U.K.’s FTSE 100 dropped 0.62 percent, while the French CAC 40 slumped 1.31 percent and the German DAX declined 1.1 percent. Most of Europe’s peripheral bourses sagged, however Italy’s FTSE MIB closed up 1 percent.
Miners feel the heat
Basic resources stocks were some of the biggest losers in Europe, with automotive stocks also under pressure, as fears lingered of a trade war between the world’s two largest economies. A Bloomberg report last week suggested that the U.S. administration was on standby to inflict additional levies on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods as soon as this week. A sharp drop in metal prices on Tuesday also didn’t alleviate pressure for mining stocks.
Banking was the only sector to post solid gains by Europe’s close, amid a flurry of ratings upgrades. Spain’s Caixabank and Italy’s UBI Banca were some of the top sectoral performers, both jumping over 4 percent, after brokers upgraded and raised their price targets for the stocks.
In individual stock news, French reinsurance firm Scor soared 9.5 percent, making it Europe’s top STOXX 600 gainer, after disclosing that it had turned down an 8.2 billion euro ($9.5 billion) takeover offer from privately held insurer Covea. Shares rose on speculation of a higher bid for the reinsurer.
Sticking with France, telecommunications group Iliad popped 6.62 percent, after Chief Executive Xavier Niel said in an earnings call that the firm would look to remain independent in the event of consolidation in the country’s telecoms market. Niel’s comments came after disappointing numbers showed the group had lost 200,000 mobile subscribers in the second quarter.
Denmark’s Danske Bank led Europe lower, falling over 6 percent, following a report by the Financial Times about the lender’s independent investigation into a money laundering scandal in Estonia. The newspaper reported that Danske Bank’s investigation discovered $30 billion worth of Russian and ex-Soviet money poured into non-resident accounts through its Estonian branch within a single year.
And advertising giant WPP tumbled 6.26 percent, after releasing results for the first half of the year. The firm unsettled investors after it said the cost of returning to sustainable growth would result in a cut to its 2018 margin outlook. Newly appointed Chief Executive Mark Read is tasked with guiding the firm through a period of unprecedented change following the departure of Martin Sorrell.
On Wall Street, stocks came under pressure on their first trading day of September, as traders kept a close eye on the latest trade developments between the U.S. and other key trading partners, while monitoring emerging market turmoil.
On Monday, Argentine President Mauricio Macri announced “emergency” measures to try to balance next year’s budget, including new taxes on exports and steep cuts to government spending. The Argentine peso fell over 3 percent on the news, and is expected to face further pressure.
Meanwhile, Turkey’s central bank promised it would take steps to combat “significant risks” to price stability at its next monetary policy meeting. The signal is likely to heighten expectations of an interest rate hike later this month.
In central banking news, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney signaled on Tuesday that he was willing to stay on as the institution’s chief to ease the U.K. through its withdrawal from the European Union. Carney confirmed reports that he had spoken to British Finance Minister Philip Hammond about it, saying: “I would expect an announcement to be made in due course.”