European shares hit hard as trade war fears spark sell-off and drop get worse as US markets join in

Markets fall over concerns that a trade war could impact the world economy

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 26 June, 2018, 1:29am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 26 June, 2018, 3:57am

European shares slid further on Monday as investors on both sides of the Atlantic grew increasingly fearful of the threat of a global trade war and its impact on the world economy.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 index dropped 2 per cent, with Britain’s FTSE and Frankfurt’s DAX down 2.3 per cent and 2.4 per cent respectively.

“Things worsened as the US markets got involved this Monday”, said Connor Campbell, an analyst for Spreadex, adding that losses turned “uglier as the afternoon wore on”.

Wall Street opened deep in the red, and the Nasdaq was down 2.2 per cent by the time of the European close.

A report that US President Donald Trump planned to bar many Chinese companies from investing in US technology firms and block more tech exports to Beijing hit Asian stocks overnight.

Europe’s tech sector, which is mainly composed of hardware firms sensitive to trade barriers, fell 2.7 per cent on the news, which could herald higher costs for companies.

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Chip makers BE Semiconductor, Siltronic, Infineon, STMicro and ASML dropped sharply, down 3 per cent to 9 per cent.

The autos sector, a key target for Trump, who said on Friday that he aimed to increase tariffs on EU car imports by 20 per cent, fell 2.4 per cent, marking its seventh straight day of losses.

Analysts have downgraded their expectations for global autos stocks earnings worldwide as the trade war has deepened in recent weeks.

Investors have grown more risk-averse with the increasing tensions over trade, driving some to reconsider their pro-cyclical positioning.

“We recommend buying into trade-newsflow-driven market weakness as the stronger growth is what should ultimately prevail,” said JP Morgan equity strategist Mislav Matejka.

Among individual stocks, French satellite group Eutelsat fell 6.2 per cent after it confirmed it was considering making an offer for its British rival Inmarsat. Its possible target rose 4.3 per cent.

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Italian cable maker Prysmian fell 10 per cent after it cut its guidance due to additional expected costs related to issues with its UK WesternLink undersea cable project.

Among gainers, Danish medical equipment maker Ambu jumped 6.5 per cent to the top of the Stoxx after JP Morgan started coverage of it with an “overweight” rating.