European stocks were lower Monday lunchtime, falling on worries over slowing economic growth and fears of a fresh flare-up in tensions between the world’s two largest economies.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 was down around 0.6 percent during early afternoon deals, with almost all sectors and major bourses in negative territory.
Britain’s FTSE 100 index led the gains, shortly after reports emerged suggesting a crucial Brexit vote could be pulled.
Meanwhile, sterling slipped to one-and-a-half year lows on the news. The U.K. currency was trading at around 1.2665 against the dollar at around 12:05 p.m. London time.
Europe’s chemicals stocks led the losses Monday afternoon, down over 1.5 percent. Germany’s BASF SE was the worst sectoral performer, slipping nearly 5 percent after the company slashed its forecast for profits in 2018 late last week.
Autos stock — seen as a trade war proxy because of its export-heavy constituents — were also trading more than 1.5 percent lower amid elevated trade tensions. Fiat Chrysler slipped almost 3 percent Monday lunchtime.
Looking at individual stocks, Air France KLM rose toward the top of the European benchmark during early afternoon deals. It comes after the airline reported better-than-expected traffic figures for November, prompting shares to rise over 1.6 percent. However, the Paris-listed company is still down around 30 percent year-to-date.
Lawmakers in Britain are currently scheduled to vote on U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal on Tuesday. However, any delay would be seen as an attempt by the government to return to the negotiating table with the European Union and seek terms more amenable to U.K. lawmakers…