By Emily Horton
European stocks ended sharply lower on Monday, as investors failed to shake continued weakness in U.S. equities and as signs of slowing growth in France added to worries. Among individual stocks, BASF AG tumbled on a profit warning.
In London, the FTSE 100 slumped after U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May confirmed she would delay a crucial parliamentary vote on her Brexit plan.
U.S. stocks initially extended last week’s slump, falling sharply in early Wall Street trade before slashing declines after European markets closed.
What did markets do?
The Stoxx Europe 600 /zigman2/quotes/210599654/delayed XX:SXXP -0.28% dropped 1.9% to end at 338.99, after closing down 3.4% last week, the biggest percentage decline since the week ending Oct. 12, 2018.
What is driving the market?
Earlier Monday, the European Court of Justice ruled on Monday that the U.K. could officially cancel Brexit without the permission of the other 27 EU member states.
On the economic front, Germany’s Federal Statistical Office released showing that the county’s trade surplus with the rest of the world narrowed. Blaming protests across the country that have cut into industrial production for a number of sectors, the Bank of France said the French economy will grow slower than originally projected.
Global growth concerns and worries that the U.S. and China will struggle to meet common ground on trade were also hanging over stocks, with U.S. stock futures lower, while weaker oil prices also weighed on heavyweight energy companies.
What stocks are active?
Heavyweight banking stocks were in the red, with Banco Santander SA /zigman2/quotes/202859081/composite SAN -0.84% /zigman2/quotes/205677933/delayed ES:SAN +1.27% falling 2.7% and UBS Group AG /zigman2/quotes/206172872/composite UBS -2.47% /zigman2/quotes/206994749/delayed CH:UBSG 0.00% sliding 3.1%.
Major oil companies fell as crude prices came under pressure, with Royal Dutch Shell PLC /zigman2/quotes/205095589/composite RDS.A +0.88% /zigman2/quotes/207682964/composite RDS.B +1.38% down more than 1% and Total SA /zigman2/quotes/201824152/composite TOT +1.62% /zigman2/quotes/206172043/delayed FR:FP +1.18% off 1.7%.
Pharmaceutical stocks gained ground, with AstraZeneca PLC /zigman2/quotes/203048482/delayed UK:AZN +0.22% up 1.3% and GlaxoSmithKline PLC /zigman2/quotes/200381158/delayed UK:GSK +0.02% rallying 2.2%. German health care company Fresenius SE & Co. KGaA /zigman2/quotes/202630793/delayed DE:FRE -0.53% rose 2.3%.