• The pan-European Stoxx 600 was down around 0.8 percent during mid-morning deals, with all sectors and major bourses in negative territory.
  • Investors are increasingly concerned about a possible economic slowdown, shortly after the U.S., China and Japan all reported weaker-than-expected economic data.

European stocks were lower Monday morning, falling on worries over slowing economic growth and fears of a fresh flare-up in tensions between the world’s two largest economies.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 was down around 0.8 percent during mid-morning deals, with all sectors and major bourses in negative territory.

Europe’s chemicals stocks led the losses Monday morning, down nearly 2 percent. Germany’s BASF SE was the worst sectoral performer, slipping more than 4 percent after the company slashed its forecast for profits in 2018 late last week.

Autos stock — seen as a trade war proxy because of its export-heavy constituents — were also trading more than 1 percent lower amid elevated trade tensions. Fiat Chrysler slipped almost 3 percent Monday morning.

Looking at individual stocks, Air France KLM rose toward the top of the European benchmark during early morning deals. It comes after the airline reported better-than-expected traffic figures for November, prompting shares to rise over 1.4 percent. However, the Paris-listed company is still down around 30 percent year-to-date.

Brexit vote

Investors are increasingly concerned about a possible economic slowdown, shortly after the U.S., China and Japan all reported weaker-than-expected economic data.

It comes at a time when traders are also closely monitoring trade negotiations between Washington and Beijing. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said Sunday that talks between the two sides must reach a successful end by March 1, following conflicting comments about whether a hard deadline had been agreed.

Global equity markets were already reeling on news that Canadian officials had arrested the CFO of Chinese telecoms giant Huawei for extradition to the U.S. The arrest has threatened to derail progress in U.S.-Sino trade talks.

In Asia, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares, excluding Japan, slipped 1.4 percent — falling to a near three-week low.

Back in Europe, investors are likely to closely monitor Brexit developments. Lawmakers in Britain are scheduled to vote on U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal on Tuesday. A rejection of May’s divorce deal from the EU looks likely, raising fears of a chaotic exit from the bloc in March.

 

Source: CNBC