European markets close lower amid ongoing trade fears

  • H&M stocks rose after announcing it would cut prices to help with unsold items. The Swedish company has struggled over the last two years.
  • Thyssenkrupp and Tata Steel are close to concluding a $17.4 billion deal this week to merge their European assets, Reuters reported.

Shares in Europe closed lower Thursday as concerns over global trade returned.

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The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed provisionally down around 0.9 percent with almost every sector and major bourse in the red. Technology stocks were the worst-performers closing down 2.64 percent.

In individual stock news, Daily Mail bounced up 6.2 percent to become the best performer across Europe's bigger market. This after a ratings upgrade by Berenberg. H&M rose 1.9 percent on Thursday after announcing it would cut prices to help with unsold items. The Swedish retailer has struggled over the last two years.

Another stock getting high on the index was the UK-listed Imperial Brands, which announced it is to invest in cannabis-based medical research. The cigarette maker saw shares rise 2.8 percent after it said it was taking a stake in Oxford Cannabinoid Technologies.

BAE Systems revealed it had won a £20 billion contract to help upgrade Australia's navy. The 30-year program will see Britain build nine new frigates for the Royal Australian Navy.

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Trade concerns continue to weigh on market sentiment. Money managers were digesting news of the latest U.S. position on foreign investment. The U.S. government said Wednesday it will use the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to address concerns over foreign acquisitions of U.S. technologies.

Meanwhile, in Germany, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said he is not seeking to oust Chancellor Angela Merkel and that he is optimistic they will overcome the ongoing impasse over migration. European leaders will gather Thursday and Friday in Brussels to discuss migration, but also Brexit and euro reform.

In corporate news, Thyssenkrupp and Tata Steel are close to concluding a $17.4 billion deal this week to merge their European assets, Reuters reported.

In terms of data, consumer confidence numbers in the euro zone showed a slight drop in June from the previous month. In the meantime, German figures showed that consumer sentiment in the largest euro economy remained unchanged going into July.