European Shares Retreat On Italy’s Political Turmoil

European stocks fell on Friday as U.S.-China trade worries resurfaced and Italian bonds sank amid heightened political uncertainty after Interior Minister Matteo Salvini of the right-wing League party called for fresh general elections.

U.S.-China trade tensions continue to escalate, with a Bloomberg report saying the White House is holding off on a decision about licenses for U.S. companies to restart business with Huawei Technologies Co.

Meanwhile, British finance minister Sajid Javid announced he would delay a long-planned review of public spending due this year ahead of Brexit, fueling speculation that Prime Minister Boris Johnson is preparing for a snap election.

The pan European Stoxx 600 was down half a percent at 372.69 after rallying 1.7 percent on Thursday.

The German DAX was losing 1 percent, France’s CAC 40 index was declining 0.9 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 was moving down 0.3 percent.

Novo Nordisk gained 0.6 percent after the Danish pharma company lifted its 2019 sales outlook, citing growing demand for obesity drugs and a new injectable treatment for diabetes.

Hikma Pharmaceuticals shares soared 7.6 percent after the company raised its
full-year revenue forecasts for its generic drug business.

AstraZeneca advanced 1.7 percent after a late-stage study showed its top-selling drug, Tagrisso, had significantly helped lung cancer patients live longer.

Shares of security contractor G4S jumped over 5 percent after its board approved plans to separate its cash solutions business.

Advertising group WPP gained 7.2 percent as it reported better-than-expected trading in the second quarter.

German energy utility Innogy gave up 1 percent after reporting a fall in first half profit.

IT systems provider Bechtle tumbled 1.7 percent after unveiling its second-quarter results.

In economic releases, U.K. GDP fell 0.2 percent sequentially in the second quarter, reversing first quarter’s 0.5 percent growth, according to the first estimate from the Office of National Statistics.

On an annual basis, the economy grew at a slower pace of 1.2 percent after rising 1.8 percent in the first quarter.

France’s industrial production fell 2.3 percent month-on-month in June, in contrast to a 2 percent rise in May, statistical office Insee said. This was the biggest fall since January 2018 and was the first drop in three months.

German exports fell by a seasonally adjusted 0.1 percent month-on-month in June, reversing a 1.3 percent rise in May, data from Destatis revealed. The rate came in line with expectations.

Imports climbed 0.5 percent, as expected, but in contrast to May’s 0.3 percent decline.

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