Inflation fears rattle European stocks

(Reuters) -European stocks slid on Thursday, tracking an overnight selloff on Wall Street, as a rapid rise in U.S. inflation spooked investors, while a drop in commodity prices weighed on heavyweight miners.

FILE PHOTO: The German share price index DAX graph is pictured at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, April 28, 2021. REUTERS/Staff

The pan-European STOXX 600 index fell 1.6%, drifting further away from an all-time high.

Basic resources and oil and gas sectors, among recent market leaders on the back of a surge in commodity prices, fell about 3%. [MET/L]

Automakers also shed more then 3%, while defensive names like healthcare and telecoms posted small losses.

The U.S. benchmark S&P 500 stock index suffered its biggest one-day percentage drop since February on Wednesday after a surge in April consumer prices raised concerns that the Federal Reserve would raise interest rate earlier than expected.

“The debate as to what the Fed will do will continue, and we’ve seen in terms of the market that after economic growth peaks, there tends to be a lull for six months or so,” said Frederique Carrier, head of investment strategy at RBC Wealth Management.

“We think that returns are going to be modest at best over the next six months. Market could go sideways and there could be more volatility.”

European stocks have rallied to all-time highs this month, with the STOXX 600 up almost 10% so far this year as economic recovery prospects and strong earnings drew buyers of equities.

British luxury brand Burberry tumbled 7.9% on reporting a 10% drop in annual sales, weighed down by the COVID-19 pandemic.

UK’s biggest broadband and mobile provider, BT Group, fell 4.8% as it reported a 7% fall in revenue and a 6% fall in adjusted earnings for the full year.

In another disappointing London stock market debut, shares of Canadian chip company Alphawave plunged by as much as 18%.

Among the few bright spots was Spanish telecoms group Telefonica, which rose 3.7% after it posted first-quarter core earnings broadly in line with forecasts.

Markets in Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland were closed for public holiday.

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