Europe close: Stocks walloped by inflation worries
European stocks extended losses on Monday as inflationary worries and sluggish Chinese economic data dampened sentiment.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 was down 2.9% at 417.46, Germany’s DAX was 2.15% lower to 13,380.67 and France’s CAC 40 was off 2.75% at 6,086.02.
The threat of higher-than-planned interest rate rises has spooked markets in recent days - sparking sell-offs in the US and Asia. Shares in Asia-Pacific were also in the red on Monday, despite Chinese trade data that came in better than expected.
Russia was still in the spotlight as Moscow celebrated Victory Day, commemorating the Soviet Union’s defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II.
A speech from Russian President Vladimir Putin was monitored for any hint on whether he would announce a victory in his unprovoked war with Ukraine, or escalate the conflict.
Neither scenario finally materialised.
"All the major European bourses are under pressure with the FTSE 100 trading below 7,400, driven by weakness in the miners with stocks like Anglo American, Rio Tinto and Fresnillo trading at the bottom of the basket following China’s softer trade data," said Victoria Scholar, head of investment at Interactive Investor.
Chinese exports in April grew by 3.9% against forecasts for 3.2%, but sharply lower than the 14.7% growth reported in March.
"China’s trade sector accounts for around a third of GDP with the slowdown in exports pointing to a deceleration of international demand with sharp declines from the EU and US as inflation and the cost-of-living take their toll," Scholar said.
Brent crude oil prices fell 7.4% as investors also fretted over the China trade data.
In equity news, shares in real estate website Rightmove fell 3.3% as CEO Peter Brooks-Johnson announced plans to step down after 16 years with the company.
Dutch postal firm PostNL slumped 13% after it cut its full-year forecast and reported a 75% drop in core profit, warning that economic uncertainty, growing inflation and pressure on e-commerce volumes make 2022 "more challenging than previously anticipated”.
Germany's Infineon Technologies was also under the cosh despite lifting its outlook for 2022.