Home > market > stock-market-news > European stocks retreat amid concern over central bank policy

Frankfurt/Madrid: European stocks headed for their biggest loss since the aftermath of Brexit amid investor concern that central banks may be less willing to continue supporting economic growth with loose monetary policy.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index lost 1.9% to 338.93 at 9:26am in London. All major western-European stock markets and industries dropped. The VStoxx Index tracking euro-area equity volatility headed for its biggest jump since January, signalling a return of instability after an extended period of calm in financial markets. Spain’s IBEX 35 Index, Greece’s ASE Index and Italy’s FTSE MIB Index fell the most on Monday, losing at least 2.3%.

The rally that pushed the Stoxx 600 up as much as 14% from a Brexit-induced low sputtered last week amid waning confidence that central banks will maintain or augment stimulus, following European Central Bank President Mario Draghi’s downplaying of the need for additional support. Federal Reserve Bank of Boston President Eric Rosengren also warned that the US economy could overheat if policy makers wait too long to tighten.

“It was only a matter of time for this sell-off," said Ralf Zimmermann, a strategist at Bankhaus Lampe in Dusseldorf, Germany. “We had seen post-Brexit a really notable rebound in markets, even if fundamentals hadn’t improved accordingly. There’s also the risk of the Fed meeting coming up, because there is very little potential positive impact of the Fed postponing a rate hike, but on the other side, if there were a negative surprise, there could be some downside."

Investors will look today to Fed governor Lael Brainard—seen as a leading opponent of rate increases—for further indications of the likely trajectory of interest rates in the world’s biggest economy before the 20-21 September policy meeting. Any hawkish shift in her tone may spur volatility in financial markets, which put the odds of a hike in borrowing costs this month at 30%.

Miners posted the worst performance of the 19 industry groups on the Stoxx 600 on Monday as commodity prices dropped. Energy companies slid as oil extended declines after US producers increased drilling. Bloomberg

Subscribe to newsletters
* Enter a valid email
* Thank you for subscribing to our newsletter.

Click here to read the Mint ePaper Livemint.com is now on Telegram. Join Livemint channel in your Telegram and stay updated

My Reads Logout