Top Stories
Top Stories

UPDATE 1-Infineon plunge, trade woes send European shares to 3-month lows

Sruthi Shankar and Amy Caren Daniel

* Infineon shares touch 2-1/2 yr low on Cypress purchase

* Kier Group slumps to two-decade low after warning on profit

* Trade tensions stoke recession fears (Adds quote, updates prices)

June 3 (Reuters) - European shares took another leg down on Monday as China sent another shot across Washington's bows on trade, stirring fears of recession, while German chipmaker Infineon's deal to buy a U.S. peer dragged down the technology index.

The pan-European STOXX 600 was down 0.7% by 0827 GMT, hitting its lowest level since mid-February and adding to a more than 6% slide in May as President Donald Trump's trade war with China and others hammered global stock markets.

Beijing added to existing tensions over the weekend by warning the United States not to meddle in security disputes over Taiwan and the South China Sea.

A survey showed manufacturing activity in the euro zone contracted for a fourth month in May, and at a faster pace, as the trade war, slumping automotive demand, Brexit and wider geopolitical uncertainty took their toll.

"The concern is the inherent unpredictability these talks (between the United States and China) can take," said Ned Rumpeltin, European head of FX strategy at TD Securities in London.

"People have to take into consideration the worst case scenario where you have disruption to the global supply chains, significant drags on growth as these tensions persist."

The data from Europe followed a weak set of surveys in Asia, adding to fears that the world economy could be sliding towards recession.

A main drag on Germany's DAX was chipmaker Infineon which slid 6.1% after agreeing to buy U.S. peer Cypress Semiconductors in a deal valuing the company at 9 billion euros, including debt.

Infineon fell to the bottom of the STOXX 600 as some traders questioned whether the company was overpaying.

The tech sector, also heavily exposed to the trade issue, was down 1.1%, with other chipmakers STMicroelectronics and ASM International also taking a hit.

"We wonder ... whether shareholders had expected such a large deal," Neil Campling, Head of TMT Research at Mirabaud, wrote in a note.

"We can see the industrial logic ... but there are bigger issues at play which could kibosh the deal. The last time Infineon attempted to acquire U.S. assets the deal was terminated citing security concerns raised by the U.S. government back in 2017."

Limiting losses on the DAX was a near 1% gain for Wirecard AG after its chief executive tweeted over the weekend that the payments company was seeing record sign-ups to its financial commerce platform.

Auto stocks added to Friday's sharp falls on Trump's threat of tariffs on all Mexican imports, dropping more than 1% as global manufacturers scrambled to put together contingency plans.

A big decliner on London's FTSE was construction company Kier Group which slumped 40% to its lowest level in nearly two decades after warning 2019 operating profit would be 25 million pounds lower than previously expected. (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar and Amy Caren Daniel in Bengaluru; additional reporting by Danilo Masoni in Milan; editing by Patrick Graham)