European shares fall as White House turmoil hits risk sentiment

Allegations have thrown doubt over future of Trump’s pro-growth policies

Traders work in front of the German share price index, Dax board, at the stock exchange in Frankfurt on Thursday Photograph: Reuters

European shares dropped in early deals on Thursday as political upheaval in Washington DC continued to weigh, though deal-making activity and earnings updates kept the region’s outperformance against global peers intact.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 index was down 0.4 per cent, while Germany’s Dax retreated 0.3 pe ent and Britain’s FTSE 100 fell 0.5 per cent, extending Wednesday’s losses after reports that US president Donald Trump had interfered with an FBI probe, following a week of tumult at the White House.

Financials and commodity-related sectors, the biggest beneficiaries of the reflation trade that accelerated in the aftermath of Trump’s election win were the biggest drags.

The more defensive utilities and personal & household goods sectors made small gains. Some of the largest individual stock moves were spurred by fresh M&A action, with shares in Berendsen soaring nearly 27 per cent after French laundry firm Elis made a $2.6 billion offer for the British rival.


Likewise shares in Swedish debt collector firm Intrum Justitia dropped more than 8 percent after it proposed a string of divestments in order to assuage European Commission concerns over its planned merger with Norwegian rival Lindorff. Shares in Italy’s Fiat Chrysler were also weaker after the US Justice Department said that it was preparing to sue the carmaker over excess diesel emissions as early as this week.

On the positive side, earnings buoyed shares in Royal Mail , which gained around 3 per cent after its first quarter results, while luxury goods firm Burberry also rose after its full-year update.