May 13, 2019 / 7:35 AM / 2 months ago

Auto stocks lead European shares lower amid U.S.-China trade standoff

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May 13 (Reuters) - European shares extended losses early on Monday from the biggest weekly slump this year as the U.S.-China standoff quelled hopes that the two largest economies will be able to resolve their trade dispute anytime soon.

The STOXX 600 index fell 0.1 percent by 0720 GMT with Germany’s trade-sensitive DAX under pressure more than its peers.

Asian shares fell and U.S. stock futures also pointed to a sharply lower open as United States and China appeared at a deadlock over trade negotiations with Washington demanding promises of concrete changes to Chinese law and Beijing said it would not swallow any “bitter fruit” that harmed its interests.

The tariff-exposed auto sector was the biggest loser among European sub-sectors, especially weighed down by shares of Daimler AG.

Over the weekend Reuters reported that China’s BAIC Group may be seeking to buy a stake of up to 5% in the Mercedes-Benz owner.

Daimler AG and BMW are putting their investments in Hungary on hold as the industry struggles with lower demand and the threat of higher auto tariffs by the United States, Handelsblatt reported.

Among the biggest decliners was Thyssenkrupp down 4 percent. The German industrial giant said it would seek partners for its steel operations after abandoning a European merger with India’s Tata Steel.

It’s shares posted their best one-day surge on Friday, helped by short-covering on the news that the conglomerate plans to list its successful elevators business.

Elsewhere, Metro Bank Plc slumped 8 percent after the company said its plan to raise about 350 million pounds ($455 million) of equity capital to support its growth is well advanced.

Britain’s largest energy supplier Centrica Plc climbed on top of the STOXX 600 after it maintained its full-year outlook despite warning about a challenging trading environment due to a national price cap on energy bills.

European stock market operator Euronext rose 2 percent after winning a regulatory nod from Norway’s finance ministry to buy up to 100% of Oslo Bors. (Reporting by Medha Singh and Agamoni Ghosh in Bengaluru)

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