European shares are lower Tuesday afternoon, reversing earlier gains as trade tensions rise and mixed earnings results weigh on sentiment. Weaker-than-expected euro zone GDP data, coming a day after German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she would leave politics in 2021, also hurt.
By 1545 BST, the EUROSTOXX 600 was little changed, up just 0.03%, while the EIUROSTOXX 50 had lost 0.17%. The German DAX was down 0.27%, the French CAC was 0.23% in the red and the Spanish IBEX slipped 0.04%.
US-China trade tensions rise again
Concerns over US-China trade tensions are returning to the fore once again. This time, the spike follows reports Monday, that the US is poised to introduce new tariffs on all remaining Chinese goods, before the end of the year, should the planned November talks not yield the results US President Trump is looking for.
The disagreement between the two countries has been ongoing for months and so far, there appears to be no agreeable end in sight.
Meanwhile, Eurostat reported that the eurozone economy grew by an annual rate of 1.7% in the third quarter of this year. That was well below the 2.2% increase in the second quarter and also below expectations for growth of 1.8%.
News of a bigger-than-anticipated slowdown in GDP growth, coming just one day after long-time German Chancellor Merkel confirmed she will leave politics by 2021, induced more uncertainty among investors.
Against that troubling backdrop, some earnings news also worked to move individual stocks.
Lufthansa shares slid 7.62% to €17.40, after reporting below expected third quarter earnings figures. While the German airline’s results were below both the same period a year earlier and forecasts, it also warned that rising fuel prices would hike its overall costs by over €1 billion over the full year of 2018.
Volkswagen shares, meanwhile, rose 3.93% to €148.02, after the German carmaker reported better-than-expected third quarter earnings. That was despite struggling to fully comply with the new, tougher emissions regulations.