European shares fell for second day on Thursday with disappointing manufacturing veri from top metals consumer China hitting miners hard and as investors grew cautious about a possible trade deal between Washington and Beijing.
The pan-regional STOXX 600 index fell 0.4 percent by 0832 GMT, further retreating from an over 4-month high hit earlier this week. The trade-sensitive DAX was down 0.4 percent and the commodity-heavy FTSE 100 dropped 0.7 percent.
Miners were the biggest sectoral fallers, down 1.8 percent, as copper prices fell after surveys showed that factory activity in China shrank for the third straight month in February. Shares in Rio Tinto and BHP fell 1.8 and 2.2 percent respectively. [MET/L]
Losses however were broad-based with investors becoming reluctant to take risks after U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said it was too early to predict an outcome in the trade negotiations between the world’s two largest economies.
Elsewhere, earnings updates were in focus.
AB InBev rose 4.6 percent, leading blue chip gainers in Europe, after the world’s largest brewer forecast strong revenue and profit growth in 2019, with a focus on increasing beer sales rather than just prices.
Among other big multinationals, cigarette maker British American Tobacco and Swiss engineer ABB both fell around 2 percent following their earning updates.
Sunrise was the biggest loser in Europe, down 10 percent after it agreed to buy Liberty Global’s Swiss unit in a 6.3 billion Swiss francs deal to create a bigger challenger to Swisscom.
A promising outlook from Zalando drove shares in Europe’s biggest online-only fashion retailer to the top of the STOXX 600, up 16 percent.