European shares flat amid trade and emerging market worries

By Julien Ponthus

LONDON, Sept 3 : European shares were little changed on Monday as worries about U.S. trade policy and concern over emerging markets weighed on stocks after Asian markets closed lower.

At 0844 GMT, the STOXX 600 was up 0.02 percent at 382.35 points with most major European indexes slightly in the red.

Stocks showed little effect from a report that euro zone manufacturing growth declined to its slowest pace in nearly two years.

London’s FTSE 100 was the only trading centre in the black. A weaker pound provided an accounting boost for British blue chips.

“While its peers fretted over China’s trade war-hit 14-month low manufacturing data, the FTSE was lifted by the pound’s renewed Brexit woes”, said Connor Campbell, an analyst for Spreadex.

Italian banks gained despite Fitch rating agency’s reducing it outlook for Italy to negative on Friday.

The biggest mover at the open was veterinary products group Dechra Pharmaceutical, which sank close to 20 percent after publishing its full-year results and saying it was implementing a “hard Brexit” mitigation plan.

“What may be concerning the market are references to contingency plans for a ‘hard Brexit’ and the fact an increasing number of distributors are focusing on the sale and marketing of their own products”, said AJ Bell investment director Russ Mould.

Belgian diaper manufacturer Ontex fell 18.7 percent after it rejected a proposed cash offer for its outstanding shares from private equity firm PAI Partners, saying it undervalued the company.

The best performance was posted by SMB offshore, up 8.2 percent, after the Dutch offshore energy company announced it reached a settlement in Brazil over alleged improper sales practices.

In France, Casino was up 0.7 after the retailer which is targeted by U.S. short seller Muddy Waters, confirmed its 2018 targets. Its shares sank as much as 15 percent on Friday amid concern over its debt.

Drugmaker Sanofi gained 0.6 percent after securing approval in Europe for a blood-clotting disorder treatment using nanobodies.

/Reuters

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