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European shares crawl up from trade war sell-off

Stock MarketsJun 26, 2018 05:18AM ET
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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A trader works at Frankfurt's stock exchange in Frankfurt

By Helen Reid

LONDON (Reuters) - European shares made a modest bounce on Tuesday, recovering slightly after trade tensions sent stock markets into a spiral as investors shed risky assets.

The pan-European STOXX 600 (STOXX) was up 0.3 percent by 0837 GMT, but was far from making up all the previous session's 2 percent losses. The index hovered near its lowest level since mid-April.

Germany's exporter-heavy DAX (GDAXI), which has been the most sensitive to trade tensions, managed a 0.4 percent gain.

The sectors worst hit by the trade-related sell-off were Tuesday's strongest gainers, with basic resources (SXPP), banks and oil stocks (SXEP) leading the way, while tech stocks (SX8P) also recovered.

Autos (SXAP), a sector in the firing line of higher tariffs, managed a 0.5 percent gain having hit a fresh 9 1/2 month low on Monday, with Fiat Chrysler (MI:FCHA) leading Italy's FTSE MIB.

Multinational consumer firms LVMH, Kering (PA:PRTP), Richemont and Swatch all rose too.

Concerns over trade have gripped global markets over the past weeks, wiping $1.5 trillion off the MSCI All-Country World since June 12.

Trade disputes and slower economic growth have hit European stocks hard, with the STOXX 600 down 3 percent year-to-date and euro zone stocks (STOXXE) down 2.4 percent.

Chris Hiorns, senior fund manager at EdenTree, said he thought European stocks would perform more robustly "if we could really see growth come through and become self-enforcing, a virtuous circle of growth driving higher demand."

But, he added: "If we are looking for triggers then what we'd want is for Trump to stop his trade war with China."

On the stock level, merger and acquisition news drove the biggest movers.

British satellite firm Inmarsat (L:ISA) fell 6.3 percent, the worst on the STOXX 600, after France's Eutelsat (PA:ETL) said it did not intend to make an offer for the firm, having said on Monday it was considering a possible bid.

Eutelsat shares rose 2.9 percent.

Bid speculation meanwhile boosted French payments processor Ingenico (PA:INGC) 4.2 percent after Bloomberg reported on Monday that the firm was drawing preliminary interest from several private equity firms.

In results-driven moves, the food and biopharma testing firm Eurofins (PA:EUFI) jumped 5.4 percent after saying it was raising its revenue target for the year, having received antitrust clearance for its acquisition of U.S. food company Covance.

Austrian paper pulp maker Andritz (VI:ANDR) rose 3.1 percent after Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) upgraded the stock to a "buy", a day after the firm clinched a deal to buy U.S. company Xerium Technologies.

Ambu (CO:AMBUb) shares fell back 5.2 percent, having risen as much as 9 percent on Monday after an "overweight" rating from JP Morgan.

While investors were concerned about the potential deepening of a trade spat which has shifted from a bilateral U.S.-China dispute to one involving more regions, including Europe, some analysts said the economic impact would ultimately be limited.

"Trade negotiations have also been distracting attention from decent economic fundamentals, especially in the U.S., and strong corporate earnings growth," said Mark Haefele, global chief investment officer for UBS Wealth Management.

European shares crawl up from trade war sell-off

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