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Europe: Stocks slide for fourth day as Brexit concerns intensify

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[FRANKFURT] European stocks slid to a two-month low, following their worst weekly drop in a month, as investor anxiety that the UK will leave the European Union deepened. 

A measure of carmakers posted the biggest decline of the 19 industry groups on the Stoxx Europe 600 Index. BMW AG fell 1.6 per cent after its sales chief told Automobilwoche that the US market "will stagnate at best" in 2016. Energy companies also slid, led by Tullow Oil Plc, as crude retreated.

The Stoxx 600 dropped 1.3 per cent to 328.51 at 8:17 am in London. Shares Friday slumped the most since the nadir of the February selloff as investors shunned risky assets before a slew of monetary-policy and political events. The equity gauge has struggled to maintain momentum in a rebound after surging 16 per cent from its February low to an April 20 high. It has traded in a range of less than 25 points since March.

The UK will hold a referendum on June 23 to determine whether or not it stays in the European Union. Optimism that it will choose to remain has given way to fear in global financial markets since the middle of last week as polls indicated the vote is too close to call. Investors are also bracing for the Federal Reserve's rate decision and the Bank of Japan's policy statement this week, as well as looking to Spain's general election scheduled for June 26.

Among stocks moving on corporate news, Siemens AG retreated 1.3 per cent after Chief Executive Officer Joe Kaeser said his company isn't bidding for robot-maker Kuka AG. G4S Plc declined 5.1 per cent after confirming that the man suspected of killing 50 people and wounding 53 others in a mass shooting Sunday in Florida was an employee since 2007.