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European shares slide as Turkey anxieties linger


[LONDON] European shares slipped on Friday as investors licked their wounds after a tumultuous week, eyeing further turbulence in emerging markets and weakness in tech stocks.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 fell 0.1 per cent, staying close to the six-week low it hit earlier in the week.

The index was down 1.3 per cent on the week, its worst loss in seven weeks as the market reeled from a currency crisis in Turkey driving selling across emerging markets.

The Turkish lira fell back around 5 per cent on Friday, having enjoyed a brief recovery, after a Turkish court rejected a US Christian pastor's appeal for release, deepening a diplomatic rift between the two countries and reigniting investors' fears of a widespread EM crisis.

"The consequences for European economies [from Turkey] could be more severe from a geopolitical perspective," Goldman Sachs analysts wrote, arguing trade and financial links with the country were relatively small.

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"To declare with confidence that the worst is over for the lira, the central bank would have to act decisively (...), diplomatic tension with the US would have to ease and prudent fiscal measures and structural reforms would have to be swiftly implemented," Rabobank analysts said in a note.

Among key movers was Italy's Atlantia, up 5.7 per cent after sinking in the previous session in the aftermath of the collapse of a road bridge in Genoa. Atlantia is the parent company of the toll-road operator.

Dutch oil and chemical storage firm Vopak fell 6.4 per cent after reporting a bigger than expected drop in second-quarter profit, driving the firm to consider selling four European petroleum terminals.

Still in the Netherlands, speciality chemicals firm IMCD rose 4 per cent and hit an all-time high after reporting strong growth in first-half profits.

The world's biggest brick maker, Austria's Wienerberger, rose another 5.2 per cent, the day after it reported earnings and confirmed its 2020 earnings target.

AP Moller-Maersk's decision to spin off Maersk Drilling and distribute to its shareholders a "material part" of its remaining shares in French oil major Total was welcomed by investors and shares in the Danish shipping company rose 1.8 per cent.

Air France fell 3 per cent with unions struggling to accept the appointment of its first foreign CEO, Canadian national Ben Smith.

"This has already proved controversial with the French unions, but we understand he has the clear backing of the French state, which remains the largest shareholder," Liberum analysts said in a note.

Traders cited a negative note by Societe Generale, which has a "sell" rating on the airline, to explain the downward move.

A Reuters report that at least three consortiums have been formed to launch multibillion-euro bids for a state-owned stake in ADP boosted shares in the operator of Paris Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports up 1.2 per cent to the top of France's SBF 120 index.

The tech sector fell 0.4 per cent after US firm Applied Materials, the world's largest supplier of equipment used to make chips, forecast current-quarter profit and revenue below Wall Street estimates.

European chipmakers Infineon, Siltronic, AMS, and STMicro fell between 1.4 per cent and 3.9 per cent.


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