Equities Indices

European shares fall amid heightened trade dispute fears

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European shares are lower around midday Friday, as investor sentiment takes a hit from news that US President Trump has reportedly rejected an EU offer to eliminate car tariffs. Meanwhile, in an interview, Trump has threatened to pull out of the World Trade Organisation.

By 1205 BST, the EUROSTOXX 600 was down 0.61% and the EUROSTOXX 50 lost 0.87%. Regional bourses were also suffering. The German DAX fell 0.77%, the French CAC was 1.07% in the red and the Spanish IBEX was 0.66% lower.

Heightened trade worries weigh

Speaking in an interview with Bloomberg, Trump called the EU “almost as bad as China” and said he had rejected an offer from the region to end reciprocal car import tariffs.

EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom had confirmed earlier Thursday that the EU is “willing to bring down even our car tariffs to zero, all tariffs to zero, if the US does the same.” However, Trump said that plan isn’t “god enough”.

The EU said it will match whatever tariffs the US imposes.

Meanwhile, in the same interview, Trump also threatened to pull out of the WHO. That comment follows claims earlier this year from the President, that the WHO was set up to benefit everybody but the US.

European car stocks were notable losers against this back drop:

  • BMW shares were 1.06% lower at €83.70.
  • Volkswagen shares lost 1.22% to hit €141.12.
  • Fiat shares slid 1.27% to €14.66.
  • Peugeot shares sank 1.41% to €23.72.

Other stock movers

Among other stock movers across European indices Friday, was Whitbread. The UK hospitality chain is selling it’s Costa Coffee chain to Coca-Cola for £3.9 billion. Whitbread shares climbed 16.27% to £4,674.00.

Elsewhere, Air France shares slipped following a ratings downgrade. Kepler Cheuvreux reduced its rating on Air France to ‘Hold’ from ‘Buy’ amid concerns over rising fuel costs, strikes and capacity growth. Air France shares sank 3.92% to €8.23.

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