By Victor Reklaitis, MarketWatch
European stocks finished down sharply Monday, extending last week’s pullback, as analysts attributed the retreat in part to persistent worries about a global trade war.
Micro Focus International PLC’s stock led the way lower, after the British software maker warned on its outlook and said its CEO has resigned.
The U.S. Federal Reserve’s upcoming policy decision also was viewed as helping to peel away investors from equities worldwide, as was Monday’s selloff on Wall Street.
How markets are moving
The Stoxx Europe 600 index /zigman2/quotes/210599654/delayed XX:SXXP +0.89% fell 1.1% to end at 373.68. The pan-European equity gauge gave up 0.8% last week, having erased part of its weekly loss by gaining modestly on Thursday and Friday.
The Stoxx 600 is down 1.6% in March and lower by 4% so far in 2018.
Germany’s DAX 30 /zigman2/quotes/210597999/delayed DX:DAX +1.34% shed 1.4% to finish at 12,217.02, and France’s CAC 40 index /zigman2/quotes/210597958/delayed FR:PX1 +0.45% lost 1.1% to close at 5,222.84. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 index /zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed UK:UKX +0.76% dropped 1.7% to end at 7,042.93.
The euro /zigman2/quotes/210561242/realtime/sampled EURUSD +0.8122% bought $1.2235, up from $1.2291 late Friday in New York.
The pound /zigman2/quotes/210561263/realtime/sampled GBPUSD -0.0072% jumped above $1.40 and was recently at $1.4042 after the European Union agreed on the broad terms of a two-year transition period for the U.K. when Brexit kicks in next year.
What’s driving markets
Investors have been worrying this month about a potential global trade war, and central banks have the attention of markets as well, with a Fed decision on Wednesday. The trade concerns come as the Trump administration takes a hawkish stance on U.S. trade with China and moves ahead with tariffs on foreign steel and aluminum.
Investors worldwide watch Fed rate policy, as higher American interest rates can make riskier assets such as stocks less attractive — and because many companies do business in the word’s largest economy.