September 24, 2018 / 7:29 AM / 3 months ago

Trade war dents European shares while M&A boosts Sky, Randgold

LONDON (Reuters) - The U.S.-China trade war dented European stocks on Monday after tariffs from the world’s biggest economies came into force and China cancelled planned talks, triggering new fears of a protracted, costly trade dispute.

FILE PHOTO: Employees stand in front of an electronic board showing stock options inside the Athens stock exchange building in Athens, Greece, after Britain voted to leave the European Union in the Brexit referendum, June 24, 2016. REUTERS/Michalis Karagiannis

Europe’s STOXX 600 fell 0.5 percent, extending losses after remarks from ECB President Mario Draghi bolstered expectations of rate hikes next year.

Autos, among the most dependent on smooth global trade, fell the most, down 1.5 percent, while rate sensitive banks .SX7P ended down 0.8 percent after briefly turned higher following Draghi’s comments.

The leading euro zone stocks index .STOXX50E fell 0.6 percent, breaking its longest winning streak since 1997.

“There’s potential for this to be a relatively protracted period of uncertainty given that it seems unlikely you’re going to come to a quick conclusion where both sides are happy,” said Mike Bell, global market strategist at JP Morgan Asset Management.

Carmakers BMW (BMWG.DE) Daimler (DAIGn.DE) and car parts maker Valeo (VLOF.PA) were the top fallers on the DAX and the CAC 40 respectively.

Dealmaking drove the greatest moves across sectors, with Europe’s biggest pay-TV group Sky SKYB.L soaring after Comcast’s offer won an auction for the company.

Sky shares jumped 8.6 percent to 17.23 pounds, just below Comcast’s cash offer of 17.28 pounds a share.

“Sky’s importance in the UK remains and with Comcast likely to dictate the strategy going forwards we would expect a continued focus on telecoms, broadband and mobile,” Macquarie analysts said.

Randgold Resources (RRS.L) rose 6 percent after it agreed a share-for-share merger with Canada’s Barrick Gold (ABX.TO) in a deal worth $18.3 billion.

“Perhaps this signals the start of renewed consolidation in the space,” said Paul Gait, senior research analyst at Bernstein.

“Clearly Barrick want the management of Randgold and the ‘premium’ that could be attached to someone like (Rangold CEO) Mark Bristow.”

Luxury stocks were in focus after reports that U.S. fashion group Michael Kors Holdings (KORS.N) had agreed to take control of Italy’s Versace in a deal that could value the company at $2 billion.

Paris-based Kering (PRTP.PA) and LVMH (LVMH.PA) outperformed the broader market, ending up 0.4 percent and flat respectively, while Hugo Boss (BOSSn.DE) was down 1.6 percent.

British travel operator Thomas Cook Group (TCG.L) sank 28.1 percent after slashing its profit outlook, blaming a hot summer in northern Europe for weaker holiday demand in the late August-September season.

Thomas Cook peer TUI (TUIT.L) fell 2.9 percent.

Shares in Danish medical equipment firm Coloplast (COLOb.CO) fell 1.4 percent after Berenberg analysts cut their recommendation on the stock to “sell”.

Oil and gas stocks .SXEP supported the market, up 1.1 percent as crude prices jumped more than 2 percent to a four-year high after Saudi Arabia and Russia ruled out any immediate increase in production.

Oil firms Saipem (SPMI.MI) and OMV (OMVV.VI) were among top European gainers, up 3.6 percent and 3.9 percent respectively.

Reporting by Helen Reid; Editing by Alison Williams and Andrew Heavens

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