By Helen Reid and Danilo Masoni LONDON, Aug 29 : Rising geopolitical tensions sent European shares to their lowest in six months on Tuesday after a missile launch by North Korea sent jitters through Asian trading.
The pan-European STOXX 600 fell 1 percent, firmly on track to make August its third month in a row of losses.
Euro zone stocks and blue-chips also slipped 0.9 percent while Britain’s FTSE and France’s CAC 40 both fell 1 percent.
North Korea fired a missile over northern Japan, prompting reprimands from the Japanese government and hitting Japanese and Korean stocks and the U.S. dollar.
As jitters spread to European markets, all sectors fell and among the only bright spots were gold miners Randgold Resources and Fresnillo, up 2.6 to 3.2 percent as the price of gold soared to a 9 1/2 month high as investors rushed into safe haven assets.
The VSTOXX, a gauge of European investor anxiety, jumped to its highest in a week.
The media sector suffered the heaviest losses as Prosiebensat fell as much as 12 percent after the German television company said it was looking for investors for its TV production and e-commerce units.
A downgrade from Goldman Sachs also weighed on the shares.
German peer RTL Group also fell 7 percent.
With the Jackson Hole symposium yielding no big change to monetary policy expectations, and an earnings season met with lukewarm share reactions, catalysts to support European equities were scarce and some investors expected a correction, though valuations in the region remained attractive relative to Wall Street.