UK, French, German Stock Markets Fall

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By Investors Hub

European stocks have extended yesterday’s losses on Thursday amid worries that the firing of FBI Director James Comey will hinder the US President Donald Trump’s proposed tax overhaul and his broader economic stimulus agenda.

The UK’s FTSE 100 Index has tumbled by 1.3 percent, the French CAC 40 Index is down by 1 percent and the German DAX Index is down by 0.8 percent.

While the euro held somewhat steady, the pound rose above $1.30 for the first time since September in the wake of the growing scandal engulfing Trump and amid strong retail sales data.

UK retail sales volume including auto fuel grew 2.3 percent month-on-month in April, reversing a 1.4 percent drop in March, official data showed. This was the fastest growth since January 2016. Retail sales excluding auto fuel climbed 2 percent in contrast to March’s 1.2 percent decrease.

Elsewhere, France’s unemployment rate based on ILO norms unexpectedly dropped to 9.6 percent in the first quarter, the lowest level in five years, from 10 percent in each of the three previous quarters, preliminary data from INSEE showed.

Banking stocks have moved notably lower and mining stocks have also succumbed to selling pressure as copper hit one-week low on uncertainty about Trump’s economic agenda.

Swedish debt collection firm Intrum Justitia has slumped after it proposed a string of divestments to meet EU demands related to a planned merger with Norwegian rival Lindorff.

Italy’s Fiat Chrysler has also come under pressure following reports that the US Justice Department is preparing to sue the company over excess diesel emissions.

Land Securities, Britain’s largest listed property developer, have moved lower after warning of Brexit uncertainty hitting the London office market.

German life sciences group Merck KgaA has also dropped after its first-quarter net profit declined 11.8 percent from a year earlier.

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