Weak results, lack of trade clarity drive European stocks down
European shares tumbled on Thursday as optimism over U.S.-China trade talks dissipated after few details on progress emerged and a slew of weak earnings reports dented retailers and car stocks.
The trade-sensitive DAX <.GDAXI> was down 0.8 percent while the pan-European STOXX 600 <.STOXX> lost 0.7 percent and Britain's FTSE 100 <.FTSE> fell 0.5 percent. The falls snapped Europe's two-day rally which had taken it up to three-week highs.
German lighting company Osram was the biggest faller on the STOXX, down 7.2 percent after its CEO warned it suffered a weaker than expected final quarter of 2018 as auto demand slowed sharply.
The latest sign of weakness in the auto sector bruised car parts makers Faurecia and Valeo , losing 4.7 and 3.4 percent, and tyre maker Continental down 2.9 percent.
Italian carmaker Fiat Chrysler fell for different reasons: sources said it would pay more than $700 million to resolve lawsuits from the U.S. Justice Department over claims it used illegal software to allow diesel vehicles to emit excess emissions.
Autos <.SXAP> were the worst-performing, down 1.6 percent.
Also among top fallers was Scout24 , down 4.8 percent with traders citing a DealReporter article saying the online listings firm's talks with private equity over a potential buyout have stalled.
In the UK, updates from retailers including Marks & Spencer, Tesco, B&M, and Halfords dominated with many adding to signs of a challenging Christmas due to poor consumer confidence.
Cycling and car parts retailer Halfords sank 23.2 percent to the bottom of the FTSE 250 after a profit warning.
Tesco was a silver lining, rising 2.3 percent to the top of the FTSE 100 after its Christmas trading came in better than peers with a 2.2 percent increase in sales.