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Europe: UBS and global growth concerns drive down European shares
[LONDON] European shares extended their slide on Tuesday as growth worries weighed on global markets while results from Switzerland's UBS dragged on the banking sector.
The pan-European STOXX 600 fell 0.4 per cent, with Germany's DAX also retreating 0.4 per cent and Italy's FTSE MIB down 1 per cent as a new batch of corporate updates cemented the risk-averse mood.
Oil prices also fell after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) trimmed its global growth forecasts and a survey showed mounting pessimism among business chiefs as the rich and powerful gather at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
Mediobanca analysts told their clients that the IMF forecast does not signal an imminent downturn, though "escalation of trade tensions and worsening financial conditions are key risks to the outlook along with a no-deal Brexit and a greater than envisaged slowdown in China".
Shares in UBS dropped 3.2 per cent after the bank's fourth-quarter earnings sent jitters across a sector struggling to recover after losing almost 30 per cent of its value in 2018.
Europe's banking index fell 1 per cent, with HSBC, BNP Paribas and Santander down between 1.2 per cent and 2.7 per cent.
In Milan, Telecom Italia weighed on the FTSE MIB. The telecoms stock tumbled 6.2 per cent as uncertainty over its strategic options grew after a regulator pushed back a plan to separate its fixed-line network.
Puncturing the gloom was German fashion house Hugo Boss, shares of which jumped 5.2 per cent after it predicted more expansion this year after a pick-up in sales growth at the end of 2018.
"Hugo Boss saw a solid end to the year with Q4 sales coming slightly ahead of expectations...thanks to what looks like a stronger wholesale development," Berenberg analysts wrote.
China's unquenched thirst for cognac helped French spirits group Remy Cointreau to deliver stronger than expected third-quarter revenue, but the shares quickly fell into the red after a positive start.
"We expect investors to react positively to the Q3 beat but believe concerns about depletion trends during the forthcoming Chinese New Year will temper enthusiasm," UBS analysts wrote.
EasyJet topped the STOXX index after investors were comforted by the budget airline's upbeat outlook, though it revealed it lost 15 million pounds from the travel chaos sparked by drones around London's Gatwick Airport in December.
Shares in the airline jumped 6.4 per cent, its best day since 2013, helping the travel and leisure sector to a 1 per cent gain, with rivals Ryanair, Air France, and Lufthansa also rising, up by 1.8-4.3 per cent.
Air France and Lufthansa were also boosted by an upgrade from Morgan Stanley to "overweight".