European markets close lower in shortened session; French CAC drops 1.5%

European markets closed lower Monday following a session of heavy selling stateside last week.

The FTSE 100 closed down 0.6 percent during a shortened session before the Christmas holidays, while the French CAC 40 slipped 1.5 percent. Germany’s DAX and the Italian FTSE MIB were not open on Monday.

In corporate news, BMW was hit by the South Korean government with a 11.2 billion won ($9.96 million) fine on Monday, and faces a complaint over allegedly delaying recalls and concealing defects that resulted in engine fires in the country.

On Friday, stocks stateside plunged, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average suffering its worst week since the 2008 crisis, the Nasdaq Composite slipped into a bear market and the S&P on the verge of one itself.

Slowdown fears weigh

Market players are mostly focused on lingering fears of a slowdown in global economic growth. The Federal Reserve last week raised interest rates for a fourth time this year at its latest monetary policy meeting, as was expected, but the U.S. central bank was less dovish than many traders had anticipated. Some are worried it may be tightening policy too fast.

Meanwhile, political drama stateside will be another area of focus for traders, with the government facing a partial shutdown that is likely to last until at least Dec. 27, according to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin held calls with top U.S. bankers over the weekend following the recent slide in equities, and made plans to convene a group of officials sometimes referred to as the “Plunge Protection Team.”

Source: CNBC

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