February 5, 2018 / 8:47 AM / 16 days ago

Inflation threat deepens European equity sell-off

LONDON, Feb 5 (Reuters) - European stocks suffered a sharp sell-off at the open on Monday, tracking big drops in Asia as growing inflation expectations and rising bond yields took their toll on equity markets.

Europe’s STOXX 600 sank 1.1 percent, in line with euro zone stocks and on track for its sixth straight day of decline. The pan-European index hit a two-month low in early dealing, having given back all the gains it made in the exuberant new year rally.

Among major European equity markets, only Spain and Italy are still higher than at the turn of the year, with the UK the worst performer.

All sectors were in the red on Monday, but the sell-off hit the highest valued parts of the market hardest, with tech stocks falling 1.6 percent.

Chipmaker AMS, one of the best-performing European stocks last year, fell 4.5 percent. Siltronic tumbled 3.7 percent while BE Semiconductor fell 3 percent.

Results also weighed on some stocks. Ryanair fell 3.5 percent after the airline struck a cautious tone about fares and potential disruption from pilot unions, though it reported rising profits.

Travel and leisure stocks were among the worst-performing, down 1.3 percent as shares in airlines Air France, easyJet, IAG and Lufthansa fell.

Fiat Chrysler fell 2.7 percent after sources told Reuters late on Friday that the U.S. Justice Department was seeking “substantial” fines in the emissions case against the Italian carmaker.

A downgrade to “sell” from DNB drove Hexpol shares down 5 percent, the worst-performing company on the STOXX index. (Reporting by Helen Reid; editing by Tom Pfeiffer)

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