European equities retreated, with automakers, miners and tech stocks falling, amid concerns about China’s trade data which show a worse-than-expected slump and as investors prepared for the start of the earnings season.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index was down 0.5 percent at the open. Glencore fell 1.4 percent and Daimler declined 0.9 percent. The FTSE 100 Index dropped 0.4 percent before the Parliament votes on Theresa May’s Brexit deal tomorrow.
European stocks, which last year had their worst return since the 2008 financial crisis, are struggling to make a breakthrough in 2019. Investors are carefully watching global data for signs of a slowdown as a result of trade wars, and are bracing for this week’s start of the full-year corporate reporting, which will show how resilient or not companies have been to the tariff tensions.
“The disappointing China trade data as well as the Brexit parliamentary deal weigh on sentiment a bit. However, the fundamental focus of investors will be the U.S. reporting season, which starts this week,” said Ulrich Urbahn, head of multi-asset strategy and research at Berenberg in Glencore t. “It will be interesting to see how many profit warnings we will get — in Europe the expected earnings growth rates seems still too optimistic.”