European stocks fall on North Korea, new Trump trade worries

09:48 | 25/05/2018
Stock markets fell on Thursday (May 24), hit by the decision by US President Donald Trump to call off a planned summit with North Korea, as well as concerns over a new transatlantic trade conflict as the US mulls tariffs on car imports.
european stocks fall on north korea new trump trade worries
Logo of the London Stock Exchange

While share prices in Frankfurt and Paris had been higher on bargain-hunting earlier in the day, markets ended the day in the red, pulled down by a weaker showing on Wall Street.

London ended the session 0.9 per cent lower, Paris slipped by 0.3 per cent and Frankfurt shed 0.9 per cent.

In New York, the benchmark Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.8 per cent after Trump informed Kim Jong Un he was cancelling their nuclear summit next month in Singapore, blaming "anger" and "hostility" from the North Korean regime for the spectacular collapse of the historic event.

The region's bourses had already fallen heavily on Wednesday after Trump said he was not satisfied with talks aimed at averting a trade war with China.

Comments by US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who said he had initiated an investigation into whether auto imports "are weakening our internal economy and may impair the national security", added to the sour sentiment.

"Shares took a turn for the worse in the afternoon with global geopolitics in the driving seat," said London Capital Group analyst Jasper Lawler.

"It was only when US President doubled down on the political uncertainty by cancelling his planned meeting with North Korea leader Kim Jong Un that European indices turned lower," he said.

Trading was "rather muted ... as traders digest the overall impact of a host of geopolitical events, including revival of US-China trade tensions, aggressive North Korea rhetoric and President Trump taking a swipe at auto equipment makers," agreed Accendo Markets analyst, Artjom Hatsaturjants.

Trump's war on automakers meant the DAX led the losses across Europe with BMW, Daimler, and VW all down in excess of two percent, analysts said.

In London, news that official retail sales unexpectedly rebounded in April, lifted the pound, which in turn weighed on share prices of multinationals listed in London that derive much of their earnings in dollars.

Most major Asian stock markets fell. Japan's Nikkei was the biggest loser, shedding more than one per cent as the haven yen surged against the dollar.

Key figures around 1550 GMT:

New York - Dow: DOWN 0.8 per cent at 24,697.91 points

London - FTSE 100: DOWN 0.9 per cent at 7,716.74 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: DOWN 0.3 per cent at 5,548.45 (close)

Frankfurt - DAX 30: DOWN 0.9 per cent at 12,855.09 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.6 per cent at 3,521.76

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: DOWN 1.1 per cent at 22,437.01 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: UP 0.3 per cent at 30,760.41 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 0.5 per cent at 3,154.65 (close)

Euro/dollar: DOWN at US$1.1725 from US$1.1732

Pound/dollar: FLAT at US$1.3376

Dollar/yen: FLAT at 109.21 yen

Oil - Brent North Sea: DOWN 60 cents at US$79.20 per barrel

Oil - West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 71 cents at US$71.13 per barrel

AFP

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