MILAN (Reuters) – European shares fell sharply on Thursday after the arrest of a Huawei [HWT.UL] top executive fed worries over a fresh build-up in the Sino-U.S. trade war, hitting export-oriented tech and auto stocks.
Ericsson <ERICb.ST> and Nokia <NOKIA.PA> however outperformed, both trading up slightly in early deals, as the arrest the Chinese tech giant’s CFO piled up pressure on their biggest rival and 5G powerhouse.
By 0817 GMT, the pan-regional STOXX 600 <.STOXX> index fell 1.2 percent, marching towards the lowest level since December 2016 it hit during the sell-off seen over the last two months.
The export oriented DAX <.GDAX> index, which has also a big exposure to China and has been hit recently by concerns over a slowdown in the world’s No.2 economy, fell 1.5 percent.
Auto stocks <.SXAP> were the biggest sectoral fallers, down 2.7 percent at their lowest in more than 2 years, led by a 3.4 percent drop in German carmaker Daimler <DAIGn.DE>.
Tech <.SX8P> was also heavily sold off as declines in chipmakers offset gains in Ericsson. Huawei supplier STMicro <.STMicro> fell 4.2 percent.
Elsewhere, Diasorin <DIAS.MI> was the biggest faller on the STOXX 600, down 7 percent after Kepler Cheuvreux downgraded the Italian biotech company to hold from buy.
(Reporting by Danilo Masoni; Editing by Josephine Mason)