Brexit and trade fears stoke declines
Global stocks tumbled to one-week lows yesterday, as declines by long-dated US bond yields and a renewal of trade concerns stoked fears of a downturn in the United States, the world's largest economy.
Brexit concerns hit stocks on this side of the Atlantic, with European indices sinking again.
US markets were closed to mark former President George Bush Snr's death, but the effect of Wall Street's turmoil in the previous session, when New York-listed shares tumbled more than 3pc, was felt in Asia and Europe.
Uncertainty about the terms of Brexit next March clobbered British services firms last month, leaving the economy at risk of contracting, new figures showed.
The IHS Markit/CIPS UK Services Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) fell to 50.4 from 52.2 in October, the weakest reading since just after the 2016 Brexit vote and below all forecasts in a Reuters poll of economists.
"Most measures of sentiment and positioning in the UK show a loathing of all UK assets," said Paul O'Connor, head of the multi-asset team at Janus Henderson. "Investors just have a revulsion for the UK."
Figures also showed that eurozone business growth hit its weakest pace in over two years last month as a manufacturing-led slowdown showed further signs of spreading to the service industry.
In Ireland, the Iseq Overall Index was faring somewhat better than its European peers soon before the close, trading 0.2pc lower at 5,689.
Movers included agri-services firm Origin Enterprises, which had gained 3.6pc to €5.93, while Ryanair was up 4.1pc soon before the end of the session, at €11.88.
Packaging giant Smurfit Kappa was 2.2pc lower near the close at €23.16, while construction materials giant CRH was down 2pc at €23.51.
The UK's Ftse-100 was 1pc lower before the bell, while Germany's DAX had also retreated almost 1pc. France's CAC-40 was down just over 1pc.
"As I look into next year, most expectations for further gains have been pared back.
"Investors have gone from extended bullishness at the start of the year on equities to an uncomfortable neutrality," said Mr O'Connor at Janus Henderson.