Morning Chronicle - European stocks, euro extend losses on political turmoil

London -


European stocks, euro extend losses on political turmoil
European stocks, euro extend losses on political turmoil / Photo: JOHANNES EISELE - AFP

European stocks, euro extend losses on political turmoil

European equities and the euro extended a sell-off Tuesday, fuelled by EU political uncertainty, while Asian markets also took a hit as investors looked ahead to inflation data and an interest rate decision in the United States.

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Investors were "carefully assessing the impact of right-wing parties' success in the European Union and its potential effects on the bloc's unity", said Tickmill Group analyst Patrick Munnelly.

Far-right parties performed well in weekend EU Parliament elections, prompting French President Emmanuel Macron to call a snap parliamentary vote and sparking political turmoil in his country.

Ratings agency Moody's has warned that Macron's move could lower France's credit score because it raises the risk of "political instability".

Traders were looking ahead to US inflation data and the outcome of the Federal Reserve's latest monetary policy meeting, both due Wednesday.

While decision-makers are expected to keep borrowing costs on hold, the inflation numbers could provide clues on when the Fed could start cutting rates.

Wall Street pushed higher Monday, with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq once again chalking up record highs.

But Asian investors were less assured Tuesday, after a tepid start to the week in holiday-thinned trade.

Speculation has been swirling about how many, if any, interest rate cuts the Fed will introduce this year, with several officials warning they are reluctant to move too soon for fear of restoking inflation, which remains stubbornly above its target of two percent.

Traders started the year predicting as many as six cuts but have whittled them down since then, and now the most optimistic estimate is for three, with some even eyeing zero.

Elsewhere Tuesday, oil prices fell as traders awaited demand forecasts from OPEC.

- Key figures around 1030 GMT -

London - FTSE 100: DOWN 0.8 percent at 8,166.89 points

Paris - CAC 40: DOWN 0.9 percent at 7,826.17

Frankfurt - DAX: DOWN 0.7 percent at 18,368.54

EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.8 percent at 4,976.60

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.3 percent at 39,134.79 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: DOWN 1.0 percent at 18,176.34 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 0.8 percent at 3,028.05 (close)

New York - Dow Jones: UP 0.2 percent at 38,868.04 (close)

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.0745 from $1.0767 on Monday

Euro/pound: DOWN at 84.34 pence from 84.54 pence

Dollar/yen: UP at 157.18 yen from 157.04 yen

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2742 from $1.2732

West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 0.3 percent at $77.49 per barrel

Brent North Sea Crude: DOWN 0.4 percent at $81.32 per barrel