China worries hit European stocks, HSBC dips

FAN Editor
HSBC's building in Canary Wharf is seen behind a City of London sign outside Billingsgate Market in London
HSBC’s building in Canary Wharf is seen behind a City of London sign outside Billingsgate Market in London, Britain, August 8, 2018. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

August 5, 2019

(Reuters) – European shares fell to two-month lows on Monday as anxiety over U.S.-China trade frictions drove investors toward traditional safe-havens including government bonds, while HSBC shares dipped 1% after the shock departure of Chief Executive John Flint.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index <.STOXX> fell 1% adding to a 2.5% fall on Friday, its worst day so far in 2019, after U.S. President Donald Trump upped the ante on China by slapping 10% tariffs on another $300 billion in imports.

The basic resources index of miners and other commodities firms <.SXPP> led declines, with metals prices falling as China’s offshore yuan <CFXS=> hit a record low, making it expensive for the world’s biggest copper consumer to buy dollar-denominated metals.

HSBC <HSBA.L> shares matched the roughly 1% fall in the pan-European index after it announced Flint’s departure after just 18 months in the job.

The Asia-focussed bank, grappling with the escalation of the trade war with China and a swing towards a new round of monetary easing, also reported a 15.9% rise in first-half pretax profit.

Shares in German group Metro <B4B.DE> fell 6% after Czech businessman Daniel Kretinsky’s investment vehicle denied reports it was considering raising its takeover offer price for the German retailer and wholesaler.

Defensive plays real estate <.SX86P> and utilities <.SX6P> stocks both outperformed.

(Reporting by Agamoni Ghosh and Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; editing by Patrick Graham)

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