European shares weaken

LONDON, Safar 27, 1437, December 09, 2015, SPA — European shares fell on Wednesday to their lowest level in more than two months, weighed down by a drop at pharmaceuticals group Bayer and more pressure on commodity stocks, Reuters reported.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index fell 0.3 percent to its lowest level since late October, while the euro zone’s blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index also slipped by 0.2 percent.

Bayer shares fell by 3.4 percent as European and U.S. drug safety agencies probed whether a defective blood-clotting test device affected a trial involving Bayer’s anti-blood clotting drug Xarelto.

Nevertheless, many investors were cautious, citing persistent concerns about a slowdown in China and uncertainty over the impact of a likely U.S. interest rate hike in December.

China is the world’s biggest consumer of metals, and fears about a slowdown in the country have knocked back commodity stocks this year.

Data on Wednesday showed that China’s consumer inflation picked up slightly in November but remained well under the government’s 2015 price target of 3 percent, raising concerns that the world’s second-biggest economy could be sucked into a Japan-style deflationary trap.

Ashtead was the best-performing stock on the European STOXX 600 index, climbing 8.2 percent after the industrial equipment hire group raised its profit expectations.

The FTSEurofirst is up around 5 percent since the start of 2015, while Germany’s DAX is up nearly 10 percent.
12:30 LOCAL TIME 09:30 GMT