Europe Markets


Banks, major oil companies under pressure

Steel is loaded at a plant of German steel manufacturer Salzgitter AG in Salzgitter, Germany


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Europe’s indexes fell on Friday, after economic slowdown fears were compounded by data showing a slump in Chinese exports.

Disappointing figures from Germany’s manufacturing sector added to the gloom, a day after the European Central Bank announced cuts to its growth forecast. And then weak U.S. jobs data compounded worries for investors.

How did markets perform?

The Stoxx Europe 600 SXXP, +1.52% fell 0.9% to end at 370.57 after finishing down 0.4% on Thursday evening.

The U.K.’s FTSE 100 UKX, +1.23% slipped 0.7% to 7,104.31, while Germany’s DAX DAX, +2.14% fell 0.5% to 11,457.84

France’s CAC 40 PX1, +1.41% dropped by 0.7% and Italy’s FTSE MIB index I945, +1.92% fell by 1%, while Spain’s IBEX 35 IBEX, +1.47%  tumbled 1.3%.

The British pound GBPUSD, +0.73%  last bought $1.2996, versus $1.3083 late Thursday, while the euro EURUSD, +0.48% climbed to $1.1240 from $1.1194 late in New York on Thursday but remained down more than 1% for the week.

What’s driving the markets?

Official data released on Friday showed that China’s exports fell almost 21% last month , reinforcing investor fears that a broader global economic slowdown won’t be softened by any trade deal reached between the U.S. and China.

Asian markets tumbled on the news, sending the China stocks to their worst one-day performance since October, causing European markets to open sharply lower.

German factory data for January also showed another heavy decline , falling 2.6%, just a day after the European Central Bank cut its growth forecast and launched new measures to stimulate a dwindling economy.

“Chinese exports saw their biggest fall in three years in February amid the trade war with the U.S. and German industrial orders fell by their steepest amount in seven months in January. It is understandable why investors have been so worried about the outlook for global growth when you see figures like these,” says Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell said in a client note.

Added pressure came from U.S. jobs data, which showed the weakest growth in payrolls in 17 months .

What stocks are active?

Deutsche Bank AG DBK, +3.78%  has reportedly intensified its merger talks with Commerzbank AG CBK, +4.69% . The former’s shares fell 1% while Commerzbank’s dropped 1.7%.

Major oil companies logged sharp losses, tracking a plunge in the price of oil , which was weighed by global growth worries. Royal Dutch Shell PLC US:RDS   US:RDS  and BP PLC BP, +3.22%   UK:BP UK:BP fell over 1% each.

Read: Norway sovereign-wealth fund aims to dump a swath of oil and gas stocks

After Volkswagen AG VOW3, +0.38% announced plans to cut an additional 5,000 administrative jobs by 2023 , the car manufacturer fell by 1.9%.