The broad-based major European indices tumbled more than 3% in a broad market sell-off in Thursday trading. Analysts attributed the plunge in market prices to concerns over global economic growth, rising interest rates, and a US-China trade war, according to BBC News. Fears of a US-China trade war were heightened by news of the arrest of Chinese telecommunications giant Huwei's CFO in Canada.
In economic news, the European Council Thursday agreed on its general approach on the establishment of a European Labor Authority (ELA). It said the aim of the new body is to support EU member countries in implementing EU legislation in the areas of cross-border labor mobility and social security coordination. This includes free movement of workers, posting of workers, and highly mobile services. The Council has proposed that the title "European Labor Agency" should be used in place of "European Labor Authority."
"The ELA will help employees and employers to deal more easily with complex aspects of cross-border labor mobility," said Beate Hartinger-Klein, federal minister of Labor, Social Affairs, Health and Consumer Protection of Austria. "It will also help national administrations to better coordinate the application of the Union legislation."
Meanwhile, the European Court of Auditors reported that reduced investment in transport infrastructure has held back the modernization of the EU's transport network. The auditors found the EU had made progress in infrastructure development and the opening of the internal transport market, but warn the EU needs to address key challenges on the road toward improved mobility within the Union. This includes matching objectives and priorities with resources, better planning, infrastructure maintenance, effective enforcement, shifting goods traffic off roads, and ensuring EU added value.
"The EU and the member states have made progress in developing infrastructure, but still need to put yet more efforts in addressing the known and future challenges facing the transport sector," said Ladislav Balko, the member of the European Court of Auditors responsible for the review. "The reduced investment in transport infrastructure has held back the modernization of the EU's transport network, with average investment levels well below what is needed."
In Germany, the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) reported that price-adjusted new orders in manufacturing had increased a seasonally and calendar adjusted 0.3% in October from the previous month. For September, revision of the preliminary outcome resulted in an increase of 0.1% compared with August. Price-adjusted new orders without major orders in manufacturing had increased in October a seasonally and calendar adjusted 0.3% from the previous month.
Domestic orders decreased by 3.2% and foreign orders increased by 2.9% in October on the previous month. New orders from the euro area were up 7.3%; new orders from other countries increased 0.3% compared with September. In October the manufacturers of intermediate goods saw new orders rise 0.8% compared with September. The manufacturers of capital goods showed increases of 0.4% from the previous month, and for consumer goods, there was a 1.7% decrease in new orders.
And the latest PMI data showed a return to growth of Germany's construction sector in November, following the first decline in building activity in seven months in October, according to IHS Markit. The seasonally adjusted Germany Construction Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) rose to 51.3 in November, returning to growth territory [50 and higher] after registering 49.8 in October.
"A further boost to construction order books helped the sector get back on track in November," said Phil Smith, principal economist at IHS Markit. "Output rebounded following a rare decrease in October, with growth centered on the commercial and housing sectors."
In equities, mining company Antofagasta, and insurance firm Prudential led the FTSE sharply lower, falling 7.1% and 6.3% respectively, followed by Schroders, turnaround company Melrose Industries, and DS Smith, which lost 6.1%, 5.9%, and 5.8% respectively. DCC dropped 5.7%, while Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust, online gambling company GVC Holdings, and packing company Mondi each closed 5.6% lower.
In Frankfurt, automaker Daimler, and health care company Fresenius led the decliners on the DAX, falling 6.2% and 5.8% respectively, followed by adhesives manufacturer Covestro, and kidney dialysis company Fresenius Medical Care, which lost 5.6% and 5.2%. Industrial gases company Linde, and pharmaceutical firm Bayer were down 5% and 4.9%, while financial services firm Allianz, and Deusche Bank dropped 4.5% and 4.4% respectively.
In Paris, IT and consulting firm Cap Gemini, and semiconductor company STMicroelectronics led the CAC lower, falling 6.4% and 6%, followed by steel and mining company ArcelorMittal, and oilfield services firm TechnipFMC, which were down 5.9% and 5.7% respectively. Construction company Vinci was off 4.9%, while bank Credit Agricole, and telecommunications, media, and construction conglomerate Bouygues each closed 4.8% lower.
The FTSE lost 3.15%, the DAX fell 3.48%, and the CAC-40 dropped 3.31%.
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