European shares dip as trade-fuelled rally loses steam

Reuters November 8 | Updated on November 08, 2019 Published on November 08, 2019

Mining shares pulled the pan-European STOXX 600 index 0.4 per cent lower. File Photo   -  Bloomberg

European shares opened lower on Friday, halting a week-long rally after mixed signals on US-China trade left investors uncertain on whether the two sides were really getting close to signing a deal.

Miners, among the most exposed to the trade conflict and its implications on global growth, dropped by 1.6 per cent and were on track for their worst day in a month, pulling the pan-European STOXX 600 index 0.4 per cent lower.

A bullish few weeks for the world's major stock markets, buoyed by an earnings season that has proved less weak than expected, still has the index on course to log its fifth straight weekly gain.

But doubts over the broader outlook for global growth and President Donald Trump's willingness to come to terms with Beijing over trade continue to weigh.

Defensive plays including telecoms and utilities rose, suggesting appetite for risk remains muted.

“We have to remember that a lot of this rally was based on speculative headlines around trade and people are going to be taking some profits after what has been a decent run,” said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at Oanda in London.

“There was a lot of optimism about the 'phase one' deal, but now we're starting to realise it's not that straightforward.”

Global equity markets had cheered news on Thursday that the US and China had agreed to roll back tariffs on each others' goods in a “phase one” trade deal.

Hopes were dampened, however, after Reuters reported that the plan faced internal opposition in the White House.

Latest data showed China's exports and imports contracted less than expected in October, while German exports rose more than expected in September.

Bank stocks, however, slid 1.2 per cent, hit by declines for some of France's biggest lenders. Shares in Credit Agricole fell 4 per cent as quarterly numbers in its corporate centre and retail arms came in below analysts' expectations.

Shares in Natixis fell 5.4 per cent after it trimmed its budget for potential acquisitions to focus on reinforcing existing businesses.

Richemont slipped 4.5 per cent after the luxury goods group said political protests in Hong Kong weighed on sales growth in the six months to Sept. 30.

In one bright spot, telecom Italia (TIM) rose 3.7 per cent after the company said it had made progress in cutting its debt burden as it presses ahead with plans to find an investment partner to help it fund a potential tie-up with smaller rival Open Fiber.

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Published on November 08, 2019
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