(RTTNews.com) - The European markets endured heavy losses Friday and extended their recent losing streak to four sessions. Traders were concerned about the impact President Donald Trump's plans to impose new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports will have on global trade.
Trump indicated Thursday that he plans to impose a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports.
The news weighed on shares of European steel producers. Salzgitter dropped 5.17 percent and ThyssenKrupp weakened by 4.08 percent in Frankfurt, while ArcelorMittal fell 3.70 percent in Amsterdam.
The pan-European Stoxx Europe 600 index weakened by 2.06 percent. The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone bluechip stocks decreased 2.17 percent, while the Stoxx Europe 50 index, which includes some major U.K. companies, lost 2.12 percent.
The DAX of Germany dropped 2.27 percent and the CAC 40 of France fell 2.39 percent. The FTSE 100 of the U.K. declined 1.47 percent and the SMI of Switzerland finished lower by 1.86 percent.
In Frankfurt, Infineon Technologies dropped 1.97 percent after announcing a joint venture with China-based SAIC Motor Corporation to manufacture power modules for the dynamically developing electric vehicle market in China.
In Paris, Total SA fell 1.96 percent after the oil and gas firm acquired Marathon Oil Libya which holds a 16.33 percent stake in the Waha Concessions in Libya.
In London, London Stock Exchange Group tumbled 2.31 percent despite reporting a rise in annual profit and revenue.
GKN shares declined 3.45 percent. The engineering group confirmed that it is in talks about selling its automotive business to Dana.
Plastic and fibre products manufacturer Essentra rallied 7.37 percent after narrowing its annual pre-tax loss.
Packaging and paper company Mondi advanced 3.86 percent. The company announced a special payout after reporting modest growth in full-year underlying profit.
Cement giant LafargeHolcim sank 7.53 percent in Zurich after it posted a fourth-quarter net loss of 3.12 billion Swiss francs, hit by an impairment charge.
Eurozone producer price inflation eased in January on energy prices, data from Eurostat showed Friday. Producer prices advanced 1.5 percent year-on-year, slower than the 2.2 percent increase logged in December. Prices were expected to climb 1.6 percent.
Germany's retail sales declined unexpectedly in January, figures from Destatis showed Friday. Retail sales decreased 0.7 percent month-on-month in January, confounding expectations for an increase of 0.7 percent. Sales had fallen 1.1 percent in December.
Germany's import price inflation eased to the lowest since late 2016, data from Destatis showed Friday.
Import prices climbed 0.7 percent year-on-year in January, in line with expectations, but slower than December's 1.1 percent increase. This was the slowest rate since November 2016, when prices grew 0.3 percent.
At the same time, export prices advanced 0.7 percent on year after climbing 1 percent in the previous month. On a monthly basis, export prices advanced 0.3 percent.
Germany's wholesale sales declined at the end of the year, after rising in the previous seven months, data from Destatis showed Friday. In real terms, wholesale sales dropped a price-adjusted 1.0 percent year-over-year in December, reversing a 4.1 percent rise in November.
The UK construction sector continued to expand at a subdued pace as fragile business sentiment and political uncertainty hinder client demand, survey data from IHS Markit showed Friday.
The IHS Markit/Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply construction Purchasing Managers' Index rose to 51.4 in February from a 4-month low of 50.2 in January. The reading was above the expected level of 50.5.
Consumer sentiment in the U.S. improved by slightly less than initially estimated in the month of February, according to a report released by the University of Michigan on Friday, although the consumer sentiment index was still up sharply from January.
The report said the final reading on the consumer sentiment index for February came in at 99.7 compared to the initial estimate of 99.9. Economists had expected the index to be downwardly revised to 99.5.
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