European markets close sharply lower on trade war concerns; Indivior slides 30%

  • European shares closed sharply lower on Wednesday afternoon with all sectors in the red.
  • Basic resources plummeted over 3 percent, while oil and gas closed 2.3 percent below the flat line.
  • U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said that there could be a new 10 percent tariff on $200 billion of Chinese goods.
  • U.K. housebuilder Barratt Developments was among the top gainers after issuing a trading update.

European shares closed sharply lower on Wednesday afternoon as U.S. authorities unveiled a new list of Chinese products that could see tariffs.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 ended the day down by 1.2 percent, with all sectors in the red. Basic resources fell the furthest on the back of renewed trade war concerns and closed 3.3 percent lower. The oil and gas sector was 2.3 percent below the flat line.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has said that there could be a new 10 percent tariff on $200 billion of Chinese goods. Officials in China have said the tariffs harm the World Trade Organization (WTO) system and globalization.

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump said in Brussels that Germany is “totally controlled” by Russia. The comments could lead to heated discussions at a NATO summit starting today, the first leg of his European tour.

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Looking across the European index, U.K. housebuilder Barratt Developments was among the top gainers, rising throughout Wednesday's trade to close 3.5 percent higher after issuing a trading update. Meanwhile, French media conglomerate Lagardere also climbed higher throughout the day, closing 2.5 percent to the upside after an upgrade to a "buy" from Goldman Sachs.

At the other end of the spectrum, British pharma firm Indivior dropped to the bottom of the index, off by 30 percent. The company warned its revenues might be dented and come below expectations. Burberry was 4 percent lower despite presenting no change to its 2019 guidance.

In other corporate news, Sainsbury’s is set to announce Martin Scicluna as its new chairman, according to Sky News. The U.K. supermarket was 0.3 percent below the flat line during afternoon trade.

U.S. stocks sharply lower

Stateside, stocks traded sharply lower on Wednesday as a trade war between the U.S. and other major economies intensified, with the Trump administration unveiling new tariffs on Chinese goods.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 139 points with Caterpillar and Chevron as the biggest decliners. The S&P 500 dropped 0.5 percent as energy, materials and industrials all fell more than 1 percent. The Nasdaq Composite declined 0.6 percent.