Europe open: Shares slip as Pelosi Taiwan visit stokes US-China tensions
European shares slipped at the open on Wednesday as investors fretted about the impact of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan.
The pan-regional Stoxx 600 index was down 0.2% in early deals after Asian stocks had fallen overnight over concerns about rising US-China tensions.
Oil prices were lower ahead of a meeting of the OPEC+ group of producers.
Sophie Lund-Yates, analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said the meeting was expected to “bear little fruit when it comes to changing current output mandates”.
“This feeds into anxieties about constrained supply which consumers and wholesalers are very well-versed in at this point,” she said.
“The interesting flipside is that anxieties about a petering of demand seem to be winning in the battle of sentiment. Very real questions about the health of the global economy mean demand for oil and gas could be in for a contraction that’s so sharp, the supply concerns are void.”
“Continued volatility should be expected while these dual trains of thought continue, and consumers will welcome the reversal in prices to around $100 per barrel, against prices of around $124 as recently as March.”
In equity news, shares in German carmaker BMW dropped 5.5% after warning of a highly volatile second half.
Cybersecurity firm Avast jumped 42.4% after the UK competition regulator provisionally cleared NortonLifeLock's $8.6bn takeover of the London-listed rival.
Infineon, the leading supplier of microchips to the auto industry, rose 3.1% on lifting its full-year outlook as it posted a 33% year-on-year increase in quarterly revenue.
Shares in UK housebuilder Taylor Wimpey gained after the company said annual earnings would be at the top end of forecasts.
Lloyds of London insurer Hiscox fell after swinging to an interim loss despite a strong underwriting performance.
In the six months to 30 June, the company swung to a pre-tax loss of $107.4m from a profit of $133.4m in the same period a year earlier.
Reporting by Frank Prenesti at Sharecast.com