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European Stocks Fall as G20 Meeting Reignites Concern About Growing Protectionism

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Last updated: 03/20/2017 07:43:18

07:43 AM EDT, 03/20/2017 (MT Newswires) -- European equity benchmarks were lower on Monday as investors digested developments from the Group of 20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting that was held in Germany over the weekend and as the greenback continued to edge lower.

Finance chiefs from the world's 20 largest developed and developing nations apparently faced an impasse on the subject of maintaining global trade free while also removing from their statement a pledge to finance the fight against climate change, according to press reports. The meeting followed a summit between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and US President Donald Trump in Washington, which highlighted their fundamental differences, according to press reports.

Stocks were also lower as the US dollar continued its slide that began after the US Federal Reserve last week defied expectations and kept its interest rate outlook for the rest of the year unchanged after an increase in its benchmark. The Dollar Index, which tracks the value of the US currency against a basket of foreign currencies, was 0.13% lower at the time of writing.

"The US dollar continues to slide further after last week's Fed-inspired sell-off, impacted by the somewhat frosty summit between US President Trump and his German counterpart Angela Merkel while Trump's trade Secretary Mnuchin failed to allay fears of rising US protectionism at the G20 meeting," Henry Croft, market analyst at Accendo Markets said by e-mail.

In equities, German luxury fashion brand Hugo Boss was down 4%, the biggest decliner on the benchmark STOXX 600. Kering, the owner of the Gucci brand, lost 1.1% in Paris. Financials were also lower with Deutsche Bank down by 3% and Commerzbank 1.9% lower in Frankfurt. The Royal Bank of Scotland fell 1.8% in London.

Tullow Oil dropped 1.4% in London after it said it's planning to issue new shares to raise 607 million pounds ($753.5 million) to help it reduce debt, according to press reports. French oil giant Total lost 2.8% and car-maker Peugeot slid 1.1% in Paris.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index fell 0.2% after reaching a 15-month high in Friday, the euro-region blue-chip STOXX 50 index slid 0.3%, London's FTSE 100 was also down by 0.2%, Frankfurt's DAX lost 0.3% and the CAC 40 in Paris declined 0.4% at the time of writing.

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