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Europe: Stocks slump to 20-month low as oil, miners slide

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European equities retreated to the lowest level in more than 20 months, led by commodities-linked stocks, amid concerns about the US-China trade spat damaging corporate earnings.

[LONDON] European equities retreated to the lowest level in more than 20 months, led by commodities-linked stocks, amid concerns about the US-China trade spat damaging corporate earnings.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index tumbled 1.7 per cent to the lowest level since January 2017. Total and Shell declined more than 2 per cent as Brent oil dropped. Italian stocks slumped, poised for a bear market. Tech shares were also under pressure.

European stocks sank to the lowest level since March on Wednesday as investors turned defensive amid concerns ranging from slowdown in demand for luxury fashion products and microchips to the sustainability of Italy's debt. Investors will be carefully watching the earnings reports for signs of profits being hurt by the trade wars after Fastenal Co warned that new US tariffs on China-sourced goods are "directly impacting" customers.

"One thing is for sure that bears are feeling hungry today, so watch out because it's dangerous out there," said Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at Think Markets UK. "Things have only started to fall off the cliff."

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