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European shares sink in sustained selloff, WPP plummets on sales slump

European shares sink in sustained selloff, WPP plummets on sales slump
A trader works at Frankfurt's stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, February 6, 2018. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski   -   Copyright  RALPH ORLOWSKI(Reuters)
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LONDON (Reuters) – European shares sank on Thursday as a heavy selloff in U.S. and Asian markets spread to the region and weak results from AB InBev and WPP among others underlined investors’ anxieties about slowing earnings growth in an uncertain political landscape.

The pan-European STOXX 600 <.STOXX> fell as much as 1 percent before paring losses slightly to trade down 0.7 percent by 0730 GMT. Germany’s DAX <.GDAXI> hit its lowest level since Dec 8 2016 in early deals.

The peripheral euro-zone indices of Spain <.IBEX> and Italy <.FTMIB> bucked the trend, rising 0.3 percent each in early trade.

Earnings dominated the day with some heavy losses.

WPP <WPP.L> shares sank as much as 22 percent at the open after the advertising group cut its outlook, reporting a sharp downturn in trading. The stock hit its lowest level since December 2012 and was down 16 percent by 0730 GMT.

The plummeting stock dragged the media sector down <.SXMP> 3.2 percent, set for its worst day since the Brexit vote selloff in June 2016.

AB InBev <ABI.BR> shares tumbled 8.1 percent after the Belgian brewing giant halved its dividend due to commodity price inflation and volatility in emerging markets.

Sweden’s Epiroc <EPIRa.ST> sank 11 percent after the Swedish mining machinery maker reported third-quarter orders well below market expectations.

Among gainers was Swedish retailer ICA <ICAA.ST>, up 10.6 percent at the top of the STOXX after its third-quarter results.

Finnish heavy machinery firm Konecranes <KCRA.HE> also gained 8.3 percent after reporting stronger-than-expected earnings.

(Reporting by Helen Reid; Editing by Josephine Mason)

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