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European shares fall as risk-off sentiment spreads

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European shares fall as risk-off sentiment spreads
The German share price index DAX graph is pictured at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, October 4, 2018. REUTERS/Staff   -   Copyright  STAFF(Reuters)
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LONDON (Reuters) – European shares started trading in negative territory on Monday as fears a trade war could have a bigger impact than expected on China added to concerns that rising U.S. interest rates are gradually making stock markets less attractive for investors.

Shares in Asia slumped overnight despite Beijing’s central bank increasing liquidity to offset the effects of the tariff row with the United States.

The pan-European STOXX 600 <.STOXX> benchmark index was down 0.4 percent by 0720 GMT. Germany’s DAX <.GDAXI> also declined 0.6 percent and the UK’s FTSE <.FTSE> fell 0.3 percent.

In Italy the FTSEMIB was down 1.4 percent to its lowest since 21 April 2017. A row between the populist government and the European Commission about Italy’s deficit is weighing on bonds and putting pressure on bank shares.

“We are a bit surprised by the strength of the reaction in bond markets, but it appears the market is jumping to the conclusion that the European Commission will take a hardline stance when Italy submits its budget,” said Mizuho rates strategist Antoine Bouvet.

Among top performers meanwhile was Norsk Hydro <NHY.OL>, up 4.7 percent after the aluminium firm received a permit helping it towards restarting its Alunorte alumina refinery at half capacity.

Hearing aid maker William Demant <WDH.CO>, however, was bottom of the index, down 6.9 percent, with traders pointing to a possible competitive threat from Bose after the FDA approved its over-the-counter hearing aid.

(Reporting by Julien Ponthus; Editing by Peter Graff)

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