June 19, 2018 / 7:39 AM / 5 months ago

Escalating tariff tit-for-tat pummels European autos, industrials stocks

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LONDON, June 19 (Reuters) - An escalating protectionist tit-for-tat between the U.S. and China extended a selloff in European shares on Tuesday with autos, mining and technology stocks in the eye of the storm.

Europe’s main equity benchmarks sank 1 to 1.7 percent by 0825 GMT after Trump warned Washington would impose a 10 percent tariff on $200 billion of Chinese goods after Beijing decided to raise tariffs on $50 billion in U.S. goods.

The pan-European STOXX 600 fell 1.2 percent to its lowest since April 26, while euro zone stocks tumbled 1.4 percent.

Germany’s DAX, home to some of the world’s biggest carmakers which Trump has explicitly targeted in his tariffs rhetoric, suffered the worst fall, down 1.7 percent.

Autos stocks were the biggest drag, with Daimler, Volkswagen and BMW down 1.5 to 2.7 percent.

The STOXX 600 autos sector hit its lowest in seven months as traders priced in higher tariffs.

Multinational sportswear company Adidas also fell 1.9 percent, as the fear of an end to unfettered access to global markets also bruised luxury stocks Kering, Hermes, LVMH and Moncler.

Industrial conglomerate Siemens was one of the biggest drags on the STOXX along with French planemaker Airbus .

Mining shares tumbled 2.1 percent, tracking a decline in London copper prices on the escalating trade tensions.

Highly valued tech stocks were also selling off as investors shed the sectors that have led the strong equity rally. The tech sector sank 2.2 percent, having hit a 17-year high as recently as Friday.

In single stock moves, the most impressive fall was in the UK retail sector.

Debenhams shares plummeted 19 percent after the department store warned on profits again, blaming its poor trading on increased competitor discounting and weakness in its key markets. (Reporting by Helen Reid, editing by Louise Heavens)

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