Leading European stocks opened in the red on Thursday, with a US tariff announcement breaking four consecutive days of gains.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 (^STOXX) dropped 0.4%, breaking a four-day winning streak.
The US government’s confirmation it will keep 15% tariffs on planes and 25% tariffs on other EU goods hit stocks across the continent. It came on top of wider gloom over UK GDP numbers released on Wednesday, showing Britain’s worst recession since current records began in 1955.
The dire UK figures had been overshadowed on Wednesday by a Wall Street rally and strong UK corporate earnings data, which left European indices trading higher the previous day.
Fresh corporate earnings on Thursday also weighed on European stocks. Zurich Insurance (ZURN.SW) saw its first-half operating profits slide 40%, while travel giant TUI (TUI.L) saw €1.4bn pre-tax losses in its third quarter. Meanwhile stocks tumbled 12.2% in UK bus giant National Express (NEX.L) as it posted first-half losses.
US investors were awaiting new data on weekly jobless claims. “The big concern now is that given the expiry of the enhanced $600 a week unemployment benefits, combined with reversals in hiring in the wake of new lockdowns, is that these numbers could start to rise again,” said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets.