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European Markets End Lower Again On Growth Worries

European markets closed on a highly negative note on Friday, extending losses from previous session, amid mounting worries about global growth due to the ongoing U.S.-China trade tensions.

Lower growth forecasts for the euro area by the European Commission and the Bank of England also continued to weigh on sentiment and prompted investors to exit counters.

The pan European Stoxx 600 index shed 0.52%. Among the major markets in Europe, Germany ended notably lower, with its benchmark DAX losing 1.05%. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 and France's CAC 40 ended lower by 0.32% and 0.48%, respectively. Switzerland's SMI declined 0.36%.

Among other markets in Europe, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic and Norway declined by 1 to 2%.

Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Spain and Turkey ended lower by 0.2 to 0.8%, while Greece ended higher.

Bank and automobile shares were among the prominent losers.

Wirecard shares plunged more than 12% on reports that Singapore police raided the company's premises there in connection with an accounting scandal at the Singapore office.

Thyssenkrupp, Continental, Deutsche Bank, Daimler, BMW, Infineon and Covestro were among the other prominent losers in the German market.

In France, Valeo declined more than 5%. ArcelorMittal ended nearly 5% down. Credit Agricole, Bouygues, Societe Generale, Michelin, BNP Paribas, EssilorLuxottica, STMicroElectronics and Renault also ended sharply lower.

In the U.K. market, Tui ended more than 4% down, extending recent losses. Hargreaves Lansdown also shed about 4%. Prudential, Standard Life, Schroders, Carnival, Centrica and St. Jame's Place ended lower by 2 to 3%.

On U.S.-China trade issues front, a report from the Wall Street Journal says the U.S. and China don't even have a draft accord that specifies where the two countries agree and disagree.

Recent reports quoted U.S. President Donald Trump as saying that he will not meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping before a crucial March deadline.

Meanwhile, it is reported in some media that the U.S. President could sign an order next week banning Chinese telecommunication equipment from U.S. wireless networks.

On Thursday, the European Commission slashed its GDP growth forecast for Eurozone for 2019 to 1.3% from 1.9% and lowered its estimate for growth in 2020 to 1.6% from 1.7%.

The downgrade reflected external factors, such as trade tensions and the slowdown in emerging markets, notably in China. Officials warned that the European outlook faces substantial risks due to the uncertainty about Brexit and the slowdown in China.

The EU revised downward its forecast for the German economy to 1.1% for 2019, from a previous forecast of 1.8%.

In economic releases today, Germany's exports rebounded at a faster-than-expected pace in December, exceeding expectations, while imports followed suit, figures from the Federal Statistical Office showed.

According to preliminary data from the statistical office INSEE, France's manufacturing output rebounded in December, rising 1.1%, after falling by a revised 1.5% in the preceding month.

Growth was driven by a 5.7% rise in the manufacture of coke and refined petroleum products, followed by a 2.6% climb in the production of transport equipment. Other manufacturing registered a 1.3% increase and the manufacture of food products and beverages grew 0.9%.

In contrast, the manufacture of machinery and equipment goods decreased 2.3% in December.

Industrial production increased 0.8% from November, when it decreased 1.5%. Economists were looking for a 0.6% rise.

On a year-on-year basis, manufacturing output decreased 1.5% in the final three months of 2018 and industrial production dropped 1.4%.

France's private payroll employment grew modestly in the fourth quarter, similar to the previous three months, as job creation slowed in the construction sector and decreased in industry, flash figures from the statistical office INSEE showed.

Statistics Finland said Finland's industrial production increased for the second straight month in December.

Italy's industrial production decreased for a second straight month in December and at a faster pace, preliminary figures from the statistical office ISTAT showed today.

The Russian central bank today left its key rate unchanged, after raising it in December. The bank said that the balance of risks remains skewed towards pro-inflationary prospects.

The U.S. market is notably lower, with stocks extending losses on global growth worries. The Dow is down 0.9%, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq are both lower by about 0.7%.

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