European stock markets retreat after strong run

European stock markets retreat after strong run

London Stock Exchange
FILE PHOTO: Pedestrians leave and enter the London Stock Exchange. (REUTERS/Neil Hall)

LONDON: European stock markets pulled back on Wednesday (Jun 12) after a strong run over several sessions as attention returned to US-China trade tensions, dealers said.

Asian markets kicked off the losses after two days of healthy gains, with Hong Kong the worst performer - sinking two per cent as a huge anti-government protest paralysed key roads in the city before turning violent.

European indices followed suit with losses of around half a per cent by the close, while Wall Street, having opened steady, slid gently downwards throughout the New York morning.

"US stocks are dipping in early action, after snapping a five-day winning streak yesterday, with the heightened US-China trade tensions countering elevated Fed rate cut expectations and the recent deal that averted increased tariffs on Mexico," brokers Charles Schwab said.

Profit-takers moved in also as traders keep a nervous eye on developments in the China-US trade saga ahead of an expected meeting between Donald Trump and Xi Jinping at the G20 summit in Japan later this month.

The dollar was mixed on Wednesday, while oil prices tumbled.

Stock markets had rallied in recent days on the prospect of a US interest rate cut and broader central bank dovishness which helped to offset lingering US-China trade war tensions.

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross tempered expectations that the US and China will reach an agreement when Trump and Xi meet.

Elsewhere, oil prices slumped after data pointed to a jump in US stockpiles, exacerbating worries about oversupply and weakening demand growth.

"Oil prices have struggled to retain (recent) bullish gains as traders stay cautious over heightened geopolitical risks and persistent weakness in the global economic backdrop," said Benjamin Lu, commodities analyst with Phillip Futures in Singapore.

Lu and other analysts said oil prices had been winning support from expectations that OPEC and Russia would agree at a meeting this month to extend output cuts beyond June.

Elsewhere in commodities, cocoa futures rose sharply after key producers Ivory Coast and Ghana stopped sales in a push for higher prices, dealers said.

The September forward contract for the commodity, listed in New York, reached an 11-month high, hitting US$2,545, a rise of around 1.6 per cent on the day.

The two African nations, which together account for 60 per cent of the world's cocoa production, summoned buyers to Accra demanding a price of US$2,600 per tonne.

The meeting reached agreement in principle, a Ghana official announced, but implementation remains an issue.

Key figures around 1540 GMT:

London - FTSE 100: DOWN 0.4 per cent at 7,367.62 points (close)

Frankfurt - DAX 30: DOWN 0.3 per cent at 12,115.68 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: DOWN 0.6 per cent at 5,374.92 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.4 per cent at 3,386.63

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.4 per cent at 21,129.72 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: DOWN 1.7 per cent at 27,308.46 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 0.6 per cent at 2,909.38 (close)

Euro/dollar: DOWN at US$1.1320 from US$1.1328 at 2040 GMT

Pound/dollar: UP at US$1.2725 from US$1.2723

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 108.46 yen from 108.51 yen

Oil - Brent North Sea: DOWN US$1.16 at US$61.13 per barrel

Oil - West Texas Intermediate: DOWN US$1.21 at US$52.06 per barrel

Source: AFP/de

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