European markets decline on tensions


European shares traded lower on Wednesday as trade tensions and growing worries about emerging market currencies cut investor appetite for risky assets. (stock picture)
European shares traded lower on Wednesday as trade tensions and growing worries about emerging market currencies cut investor appetite for risky assets. (stock picture)

European shares traded lower on Wednesday as trade tensions and growing worries about emerging market currencies cut investor appetite for risky assets.

Near the close, the pan-European STOXX 600 was down 0.9pc, with losses spread across industry sectors and trading centres despite data showing that eurozone business activity accelerated slightly in August.

A rare glimmer of optimism lifted Italy’s banks, buoyed by deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini saying that Rome would “try to be good” with respect to European Union budget rules.

Rating agency Scope also issued a note saying that while “volatile politics have reignited fears around Italian banks”, there has been progress on non-performing loans.

In Ireland, the Iseq Overall Index was trading almost 0.6pc lower shortly before the close, at 6,717.98. Its decline was more modest that that experienced by indices across most of the rest of Europe.

Movers included shares in hotel group Dalata, which shed 4.2pc to €6.58, adding to declines the previous day when it released strong first half results.

Shares in Ryanair were down 1.3pc at €13.59 near the close, as the airline came under pressure to address its board composition, including its long-standing chairman, David Bonderman.

There were few advancers, and those that did eked out small gains.

The UK’s FTSE-100 was down 1.2pc as the close neared. Germany’s DAX was 1.3pc lower while France’s CAC-40 was down 1.4pc.

British betting company William Hill jumped 4.6pc after it signed a 25-year sports-betting partnership with casino operator Eldorado Resorts, which investors see as a major step in its US expansion.

Corporate announcements also triggered strong swings yesterday, most notably in French pharmaceutical group BioMerieux, which was up 5.8pc near the close after better than expected first-half results and a raised 2018 outlook.

The biggest faller was Denmark’s Ambu whose shares sank 11pc after reports of a shareholder selling his stock at a discount. Snuff and cigar maker Swedish Match fell 3.6pc after an institutional investor sold a stake of 4.3 million shares at a discount.

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