European markets down as trade tensions simmer

Automakers and retailers helped pull the Stoxx Europe 600 lower after equities fell in Tokyo and slumped in Seoul.

May 16, 2019 10:05 IST India Infoline News Service

European stocks slipped with Asian shares and U.S. equity futures fluctuated amid festering trade tensions between the world’s biggest economies. The dollar was steady and crude oil gained.

Automakers and retailers helped pull the Stoxx Europe 600 lower after equities fell in Tokyo and slumped in Seoul. Contracts on all three of the main US benchmarks pared earlier declines to trade little changed as traders digested President Donald Trump’s moves to curb Huawei Technologies’ access to the American market. Gauges in Hong Kong and China climbed. Treasuries edged higher and yields on similar-maturity German bunds extended this week’s drop.

The slide in yields speaks to the elevated level of anxiety across markets, as trade tensions between major economies fester and investors fret the outlook for growth. Equities have oscillated this week as traders scramble to make sense of a slew of headlines. In the latest developments, President Donald Trump signed an order that’s expected to restrict Chinese telecommunications firms from selling their equipment in the U.S., while he’s set to give the European Union and Japan a deadline to agree to “limit or restrict” automobile exports to America.

Amid the confusing landscape, traders have increased bets on the Federal Reserve cutting borrowing costs later this year. Fed Bank of Richmond President Thomas Barkin said while he favors keeping interested rates on hold, for now, he worries that business confidence is fragile.

Source: Bloomberg

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