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Europe: Shares fall as trade tensions weigh

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[MILAN] European shares fell to new two-week lows on Friday after Donald Trump said the United States would impose tariffs on imported steel and aluminium, prompting worries over a global trade war.

Such concerns sparked a broad sell off in Europe, sending the pan-regional STOXX 600 index down 0.7 per cent by 0825 GMT. Germany's DAX fell 1.1 per cent and Britain's FTSE dropped 0.3 per cent.

All sectors were trading in negative territory, with autos leading the drop and weighed down by a 3.7 per cent slump in Fiat Chrysler shares on concerns that the US tariff move could increase raw material costs.

Steel and aluminium stocks were also generally lower with ArcelorMittal, Salzgitter and Norsk Hydro all down around 2 per cent. Steel pipes maker Tenaris , which has production and marketing facilities in the United States, however, rose around 0.6 per cent.

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Precious metal miners outperformed as investors sought refuge in safe-haves assets such as gold following Mr Trump's announcement. Randgold, Centamin and Polymetal all rose more than 1.7 per cent.

Swedish radiation therapy equipment maker Elekta, up 9.9 per cent, led gainers on the STOXX after it reported above-forecast earnings, while IMI dropped 7.5 per cent as its trading update disappointed.

The STOXX was on track to end the week, already marked by worries over faster rate hikes in the United States, down more than 2 per cent.

REUTERS