On Friday, European equities declined, with cars as well as basic resources equities facing the brunt of a wide sell-off provoked by mounting concerns that American duties on $60 billion of Chinese imports could step up.
All sectors found themselves in negative territory, bringing pan-regional STOXX 600 benchmark down for a second day – it lost 1.4% demonstrating its lowest value since February 2017.
Market participants closely watched China’s response that urged America to give up this policy on Friday and also revealed its own plans to impose duties $3 billion of American imports.
Despite risks that the duties could trigger a full-blown trade conflict, some traders told that they aren’t assured that it might take place, pointing out that the retaliation measures rolled out by China are relatively moderate.
However, caution pushed market participants into defensive equities, such as utilities as well as telecoms that went down by less than 1%, although left the broader market behind because they are considered to be less vulnerable a deterioration in the world’s trade.
Euro zone indexes, with the export-sensitive DAX dived more 1.8%, although stood above early March minimums, while the FTSE declined 1.1% to fresh 15-month minimums hit on the back of a growing pound.
On Friday, among the few top notch performers were equities in metal miners Randgold, Polymetal and Fresnillo. All of them gained 0.5%-1.5% because the gold price tacked on the back of soaring demand for safe haven assets.
Among the companies, affected by American aluminum and steel tariffs, equities in car makers Fiat Chrysler as well as BMW inched down respectively 2.5% and 2.1%, while steel tube maker Tenaris declined 4.1% and ThyssenKrupp lost 2.7%.
Additionally, GSK tacked on 2.9% having pulled out of the bidding fight for Pfizer’s health business.