By Barbara Kollmeyer, MarketWatch
AFP via Getty Images
European stock markets fell on Wednesday, a day after comments from President Donald Trump unsettled investors hoping for some calm on the trade front, and as a decision over U.S. tariffs on the region’s automobiles looms.
The Stoxx Europe 600 index /zigman2/quotes/210599654/delayed XX:SXXP -0.78% , which finished up 0.4% on Tuesday, fell 0.6% to 404.17.
The German DAX /zigman2/quotes/210597999/delayed DX:DAX -0.64% dropped 0.9% to 13160.76, the French CAC 40 /zigman2/quotes/210597958/delayed FR:PX1 -0.84% dropped 0.6% to 5883.58 and the U.K. FTSE 100 /zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed UK:UKX -1.33% fell 0.5% to 7325.49.
A day after a flat finish for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, futures for that index /zigman2/quotes/210407078/delayed YM00 -0.53% dropped 134 points, or 0.5%, to 27,534, with S&P 500 /zigman2/quotes/209948968/delayed ES00 -0.43% and Nasdaq-100 /zigman2/quotes/210219788/delayed NQ00 -0.29% futures also sliding. Tensions continued to rise in Hong Kong, where the index dropped nearly 2%.
Investors will be looking to comments coming later from the Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, who will appear in testimony before the U.S. Congress. Analysts expect him to largely reiterate a stance that current monetary policy is appropriate provided the data doesn’t worsen.
Global equities were pulling back after Trump told the Economic Club of New York on Tuesday that a phase-one trade agreement with China was close, but he also warned that if a deal doesn’t get done, “we’re going to substantially raise the tariffs.”
The next round of U.S. levies on Chinese products is scheduled to go into effect on December 15 and covers $156 billion of goods, including toys and computers. The U.S. administration must also soon decide whether it will again delay a 25% tariff hike on European automobile imports.
“There was no reassurance that import tariffs on European cars aren’t coming,” said Kit Juckes, global head of foreign exchange strategy at Société Générale, in a note to clients.
Automobile companies fell across the board in Europe, with Daimler AG /zigman2/quotes/205332368/delayed DE:DAI -0.99% , Volkswagen AG /zigman2/quotes/204309985/delayed DE:VOW3 -0.61% /zigman2/quotes/204309985/delayed DE:VOW3 -0.61% and BMW /zigman2/quotes/202432319/delayed XE:BMW -1.19% /zigman2/quotes/209548467/delayed DE:BMW -0.93% all down more than 1%.
Bank losses also fell, with shares of ABN Amro Bank NV /zigman2/quotes/209088556/delayed NL:ABN -0.57% plunging over 4% after posting a 24% fall in net profit for the third quarter. It also announced a plan to beef up financial-crime detection, after last month confirming a related probe by the Dutch authorities.
Spanish banks were particularly hard hit. Banco de Sabadell SA /zigman2/quotes/206753237/delayed ES:SAB -3.59% slid 4%, with Banco Santander SA /zigman2/quotes/202859081/composite SAN +4.60% /zigman2/quotes/205677933/delayed ES:SAN -2.54% and BBVA SA /zigman2/quotes/204078760/composite BBVA +5.37% /zigman2/quotes/209653399/delayed ES:BBVA -2.48% each off 3%. Those losses came a day after Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez’s Socialists reached a preliminary post-election coalition deal with far-left party Unidos Podemos. But those parties still need the support of other parties to form a government, and analysts said that may be difficult.
Spain’s IBEX 35 index /zigman2/quotes/210597995/delayed XX:IBEX -1.27% , which fell on Tuesday on news of the coalition deal, slid 1.4% to 9,154.60, leading declines across European regional stock indices.
Elsewhere, shares of Coca-Cola HBC /zigman2/quotes/200383650/delayed UK:CCH -0.55% jumped 4% after the Swiss-based bottler said trading in the third quarter of 2019 was strong, and offered an upbeat assessment of its full-year outlook.
Shares of Tullow Oil /zigman2/quotes/205079109/delayed UK:TLW -2.49% plunged 20% after the energy company said oil production would be below guidance for the full year, largely due to its Ghana production performance.