Europe closes lower amid fears of a global growth slowdown

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December 17, 2018 2:01pm NYSE:VGK

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From Ryan Browne:

The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed provisionally down 1.14 percent, with almost all sectors and every major bourse in the red.

Retail was down the most, off by 2.7 percent, after British online fashion retailer Asos issued a profit warning. The firm cut its annual sales growth and profit margin forecasts, becoming the latest U.K. retailer to highlight very poor November trading.

U.K. retail stocks made heavy losses, with Asos down 37.55 percent, Next down 4.63 percent, Marks & Spencer down 4.94 percent and Boohoo shares down 13.74 percent.

Elsewhere in the sector, shares of Zalando slumped to the bottom of the Stoxx 600, pressured by the broader downturn in retail stocks. H&M also fell, despite reporting that sales growth in the September-November period rose 6 percent from the previous year. Zalando dipped 11.63 percent while H&M slipped 8.53 percent.

On Wall Street, stocks sunk deeper into correction territory, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average down 100 points, the S&P 500 off by 0.2 percent and the Nasdaq Composite trading around the flatline.

Global growth concerns

Market focus is largely attuned to concerns surrounding cooling global growth after soft economic data from China and Europe in the last week added further concerns. On Friday, China reported weaker-than-expected retail sales data, growing at its weakest pace since November 2003.

The Bank of International Settlements (BIS), an umbrella group for the world’s central banks, said on Sunday that recent market tensions are a sign of more turmoil to come. It warned that a normalization of monetary policy is likely to trigger a flurry of sharp sell-offs in the near future.

Meanwhile, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May announced in parliament that a meaningful vote on her Brexit deal would take place on the week commencing Jan. 14. Britain has just over 100 days to leave the bloc on March 29 and chances of a no-deal or a chaotic Brexit deal have gone up after strong oppositions to May’s draft deal.

The Vanguard FTSE Europe ETF (VGK) was trading at $49.08 per share on Monday afternoon, down $0.37 (-0.75%). Year-to-date, VGK has declined -16.62%, versus a -3.33% rise in the benchmark S&P 500 index during the same period.

VGK currently has an ETF Daily News SMART Grade of B (Buy), and is ranked #32 of 91 ETFs in the European Equities ETFs category.

This article is brought to you courtesy of CNBC.

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