European markets close lower amid Trump remarks about China and the Fed

European markets closed lower on average on Friday afternoon following remarks from President Donald Trump over imposing tariffs on $505 billion worth of goods.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 ended provisionally lower by 0.09 percent. The FTSE 100 in London ended flat, lower by just 0.04 percent.

Auto stocks were the worst-performers, down more than 2 percent amid reports that the European Commission is preparing retaliatory tariffs in case the U.S. moves ahead with duties on European carmakers. Banking shares were also under pressure amid comments from President Trump that he was not “thrilled” about the policy the Fed has followed.

In an exclusive interview with CNBC, Trump said he was “not happy” about rising interest rates. “I am not happy about it. But at the same time I’m letting them (the Fed) do what they feel is best,” Trump said. In the same interview, Trump said if his dealings with Russian President Vladimir Putin don’t work out, Trump will become “the worst enemy he’s ever had.”

Trump also said he was prepared to step up the trade war with China and impose tariffs on $505 billion worth of Chinese goods. The dollar index fell sharply away from its year-high hit in the previous session.

Looking across the European index, the pulp and paper manufacturer Stora Enso dropped 13.5 perfect after reporting its second-quarter results.

The share price of Orion rose 4.26 percent, after a ratings upgrade kicked in for the Finnish pharma. Luxury retailer Hermes ended 0.48 percent above the flatine after posting its second-quarter sales. These came in stronger than the numbers reported in the first quarter, thanks to strong demand in China.

In other corporate news, Fiat Chrysler has started the process to spin-off parts-maker Magneti Marelli, Reuters reported. The latter is reportedly registered in the Netherlands and listed on the Milan stock exchange.

Meanwhile in Europe, the U.K. financial watchdog has told banks to prepare for “a range of scenarios” including for one where there’s no agreement between the U.K. and the European Union.

The International Monetary Fund warned Thursday that the EU could suffer an economic impact of 1.5 percent of its annual output if Brexit happens abruptly. Prime Minister Theresa May is due to speak in Belfast Friday after visiting the Irish border, one of the most difficult issues for Brexit negotiators.

Source: CNBC