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Europe: Turkey tariff move, EM bear market send shares spiraling

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[LONDON] European shares sold off sharply on Wednesday after Turkey doubled tariffs on some US imports, and miners had their worst day since Britain's 2016 Brexit vote on sliding commodity prices.

A strengthening dollar and disappointing earnings from Chinese technology giant Tencent Holdings helped drive the emerging markets index into technical bear territory - down 20 per cent from its January peak - adding pressure to global markets.

"In a market highly sensitive to downside sentiment, today's Tencent result could prove a fresh catalyst for continued emerging market pressure," said Douglas Morton, head of Asia research at Northern Trust Capital Markets.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 ended the day down 1.4 per cent with Germany's DAX dropping 1.6 per cent.

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Autos stocks were among the worst performers, pushing the DAX down to a six-week low after Turkey doubled tariffs on US alcohol, car and tobacco imports.

The autos sector was down 1.9 per cent, near lows hit when trade war fears gripped markets at the start of July.

"The imposition of punitive tariffs on a raft of US imports is hardly indicative of the Turkish authorities being ready to embark on some sensible monetary and fiscal measures to combat the crisis," said Neil Wilson, senior market analyst at markets.com.

Miners fell 4.2 per cent in their biggest daily loss since the Brexit vote aftermath in June 2016, as renewed anxiety over trade piled pressure on a sector already dented by falling copper prices.

Earnings triggered some big moves: Danish wind turbine maker Vestas rose 3.1 per cent after reporting better-than-expected second-quarter operating profits and launching a 200 million euro (S$313.2 million) share buy-back.

Also in Denmark, audio equipment maker William Demant fell 11.4 per cent after it lifted its guidance less than the market expected.

British insurer Admiral rose to the top of the FTSE 100, gaining 3.6 per cent, after posting a 9 per cent rise in first-half pre-tax profit.

Atlantia, which owns Autostrade per l'Italia, was down 5.4 per cent after Italy's transport minister called for the resignation of senior managers of the company which operated the motorway bridge that collapsed in Genoa on Tuesday.

Shares in French video game maker Ubisoft fell 3.6 per cent after Tencent surprised the market with slower than expected gaming growth.

REUTERS