Investor Alert

Europe Markets

Jan. 23, 2019, 5:11 a.m. EST

European investors unnerved by economic slowdown and trade uncertainty

By Emily Horton

European stocks were down on Wednesday, as fears over the global economic slowdown continued to spook investors. Reports that U.S. officials had canceled trade talks with China, scheduled for later this week, added to the uncertainty.

FTSE 250-listed Metro Bank PLC (LON:UK:MTRO)  lost 28% after it announced weaker growth in the final quarter.

What are markets doing?

The Stoxx Europe 600 (STOXX:XX:SXXP)  dropped by 0.2% to 354.41, after closing 0.4% on Tuesday.

The U.K.’s FTSE 100 (FTSE:UK:UKX)  was the biggest loser of Europe’s major indexes, falling 0.5% to 6,868.77.

Germany’s DAX 30 (XEX:DX:DAX)  lost 0.3% to 11,058.08 and Italy’s FTSE MIB Italy index (BORSA:IT:I945)  dipped 1%. France’s CAC 40 (PAR:FR:PX1)  remained mostly unchanged at 4,844.73.

The euro (XTUP:EURUSD) stayed flat on Wednesday, fetching $1.1361, while the British pound (XTUP:GBPUSD) was up to $1.2987 from $1.2955 late Tuesday in New York.

What’s driving the market?

A combination of the lower global growth forecasts from the International Monetary Fund and a fresh set of weak economic data from China earlier in the week have continued to weigh on investor sentiment.

The fragile optimism over a potential trade truce between the U.S. and China was punctured on Tuesday evening, after reports emerged that White House officials had canceled a planned meeting with China.

Meanwhile, George Osborne, the former U.K. Chancellor who campaigned for the country to remain part of the European Union, thinks that a delay to Brexit is the most likely outcome from weeks of political deadlock.

What stock are active?

Metro Bank PLC (LON:UK:MTRO)  lost 28% after it announced weaker growth in the fourth quarter. However, the challenger bank still saw profits more than double in 2018.

The U.S. Federal Reserve has launched an investigation into how Deutsche Bank AG (FRA:DE:DBK) handled billions of dollars in suspicious transactions from Danske Bank AS (CSE:DK:DANSKE) , Bloomberg reports, citing unnamed sources. Both banks fell by around 1%.

Semiconductor stock company ASML Holdings NV (AMS:NL:ASML)  lost 3%, while heavyweight miner Antofagasta PLC (LON:UK:ANTO)  fell by almost 1%, despite predicting that 2019 will be a record year.

Burberry Group PLC (LON:UK:BRBY)  lost 2%, after its third quarter results fell slightly.

WH Smith PLC (LON:UK:SMWH) gained 3% after the company said that strong growth in its travel division more than offset a slight decline in its high-street unit in early fiscal 2019.

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