Markets

European markets close lower amid US-China trade news; Glencore down 4.4%

Key Points
  • The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed 0.3 percent lower, with major bourses and most business sectors in the red.
  • Telecoms plummeted by almost 2 percent at the end of trade, with Altice and Telecom Italia dragging the sector lower on news of ratings downgrades.
  • Glencore shares dropped, closing 4.4 percent lower after a report indicated that the mining firm may face investigation by the U.K.'s Serious Fraud Office.

European shares closed lower on Friday as concerns over geopolitics and trade intensified.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed 0.3 percent lower, with major bourses and most business sectors in the red.

Telecoms had plummeted by almost 2 percent at the end of trade. Altice and Telecom Italia dragged the sector lower on news of ratings downgrades. Both stocks dropped during the afternoon to close approximately 3.5 percent to the downside.

Basic resources also performed poorly, with shares finishing the day off by 1.2 percent. Glencore shares dropped, closing 4.4 percent lower, although they had been negative by almost 7 percent earlier in the afternoon. A report said that the mining firm may face investigation by the U.K.'s Serious Fraud Office over its operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Europe's automotive sector also closed well into negative trade, just over 1 percent lower. Fiat Chrysler foundered at the bottom of the group, ending in the red by 1.8 percent. CEO Sergio Marchionne has said that he will overhaul the company's operations in Italy, moving away from the manufacturing of small cars to focus on higher end models.

The banking sector was also nearly 1 percent lower at Friday's close, with Italian banks UBI Banca, BPER Banca and Banco BPM all down by over 6 percent. Uncertainty remains over the political agenda of two populist parties, the left-wing Five Star Movement and the far-right Lega, which stand likely to form the next government in a power-sharing agreement.

Looking across the European benchmark, Ubisoft rose to near the top of the index, closing up by over 4.5 percent. It had traded strongly throughout the day following higher-than-expected earnings.

At the other end of the spectrum, shares of Richemont were among the worst performers, finishing down by more than 5.3 percent on disappointing watch sales.

In earnings news, AstraZeneca reported a 37 percent decline in first-quarter profit, according to Reuters. Shares closed 1.9 percent lower, paring back losses made earlier in the day.

US stocks lower as trade talks with China continue

Stateside, the S&P 500 traded lower on Friday as tensions between the U.S. and China weighed on investor sentiment while both countries continued negotiations on trade.

The broad index fell 0.1 percent with consumer stocks lagging. The Nasdaq composite declined 0.2 percent. The Dow Jones industrial average bucked the negative trend, rising 52 points.