Markets in Europe close lower amid growing recession fears

Markets in Europe closed lower on Monday, amid rising fears of an impending U.S. recession and fresh uncertainty around Brexit just days before Britain’s scheduled departure from the EU.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 was provisionally 0.42 percent lower by the end of the session, with most sectors and all major bourses in the red.

Market jitters have grown recently over increasing signs of slowing economic growth and a possible recession. German manufacturing contracted for the third month in a row, IHS Markit data showed Friday, dragging the yield on the 10-year bond into negative territory for the first time since October 2016.

The U.S. yield curve, which plots bond yields from shortest maturity to highest and is considered a barometer of economic sentiment, inverted for the first time since mid-2007 on Friday.

Looking at individual stocks, LVMH initially dropped 8.8 percent before paring back losses. Reuters reported that the substantial drop at the start of the session was due to an erroneous “fat finger” trade, where a misclick leads to a trade that was larger than expected or made on the wrong stock. Shares of the French luxury goods maker later rallied and were trading 1.36 percent higher at the closing bell.

Bayer, meanwhile, saw its shares fall almost 3 percent after a downgrade from Bank of America Merrill Lynch. The pharmaceutical firm’s chief executive recently said its supervisory board continues to support management, after a U.S. jury ruled against the company in a trial over its Roundup weed killer.

At the other end of the scale, British satellite maker Inmarsat surged to the top of the index after it emerged that a private equity-led consortium had agreed to buy the firm for around $3.4 billion. Shares gained 9.64 percent on the back of the news.

Meanwhile, shares on Wall Street were flat on Monday as investors weighed global growth concerns against the outcome of Robert Mueller’s two-year probe into President Donald Trump. Attorney General William Barr said Sunday the probe found no sufficient evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.

The news is likely to be a boon to Trump, who has long called the inquiry a “witch hunt” and claimed there was “no collusion” between his presidential campaign and Moscow.

Back in Europe, Brexit remains a talking point, with reports of a plot to oust U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May surfacing over the weekend. The British leader met with senior ministers and Brexit-supporting lawmakers on Sunday to discuss the planned departure from the European Union.

The EU has offered the U.K. an extension to the Brexit date, but the length of such a delay depends on whether May’s twice-rejected divorce deal can gain the support of lawmakers.

Source: CNBC

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