LONDON (Reuters) – European shares fell back on Thursday, tracking a decline in Asian trading overnight as weakness in Chinese markets eclipsed optimism that a NAFTA deal could be struck by Friday’s deadline.
The German share price index, DAX board, is seen at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, March 21, 2018. REUTERS/Tilman Blasshofer
The pan-European STOXX 600 fell 0.3 percent by 0730 GMT, set for its biggest fall in a fortnight, while Germany’s DAX .GDAXI fell 0.4 percent.
Chinese stocks fell overnight after a Reuters poll showed activity in the factory sector likely slowed for the third straight month in August amid uncertainty over an escalating trade war with the United States.
Trade-sensitive mining stocks .SXPP tumbled 0.9 percent and autos .SXAP fell 0.5 percent.
Results caused some sharp moves at the stock level.
Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (URW.AS) shares fell 3.1 percent despite Europe’s largest property company reporting a boost to profits from its acquisition of Australian shopping center giant Westfield.
UK commercial property firms Intu (INTUP.L) fell 4.2 percent after Morgan Stanley cut the stock to underweight from equal-weight, and peer Hammerson (HMSO.L) also fell 3.9 percent.
Traders cited Morgan Stanley downgrading its overall view on the European property sector, and cutting Klepierre (LOIM.PA) and Carmila (CARM.PA) to underweight as well.
Europe’s real estate sector .SX86P was the worst-performing, down 1.3 percent.
Swedish radiation therapy gear maker Elekta (EKTAb.ST) was the biggest faller, down 6.6 percent after it reported an unexpected drop in first-quarter operating profit.
Bouygues (BOUY.PA) was a rare gainer, up 4.4 percent after the French conglomerate stuck to its full year outlook for rising profitability as its telecoms division improved.
IWG (IWG.L) shares fell 4.2 percent after RBC analysts cut the stock to “underperform”.
Troubled Swiss asset manager GAM (GAMH.S) tumbled a further 5 percent, hitting its lowest in more than nine years and taking its year-to-date losses to 51 percent.
GAM shares have sold off sharply since the firm suspended a top director and suspended, then liquidated, some bond funds.
Reporting by Helen Reid; Editing by Alison Williams