European shares fell for a fourth straight session on Wednesday, with investors on edge as fears of a global recession picked up steam, although the losses were limited by the gains in the healthcare stocks.
The region-wide STOXX 600 was down 0.2%, taking cues from a dismal trading session on Wall Street overnight after big US banks cautioned of a likely recession next year. “There is a sense of nervousness and jitteriness in the markets today.
The sell-off on Wall Street last night has permeated across global markets,“ said Victoria Scholar, head of investment at Interactive Investor, adding that there is scope for more volatility towards the year end. “Markets are not out of the woods yet with headwinds remaining from the gas crisis, inflation, monetary tightening and the threat of recession.”
A recent rally in equities driven by hopes of a less aggressive Federal Reserve has been tested in recent days after US data pointing to economic strength spurred fears that the central bank could keep hiking interest rates for longer.
Markets now await a slew of interest rate decisions, including from the Fed and the European Central Bank next week for further clues on the direction of monetary policy tightening.
Investors will also be watching out for revised third-quarter gross domestic product estimates from the European Union’s statistics office scheduled for 10:00 GMT.
On the pan-continent STOXX 600 index, mining and energy sectors led declines, falling about 1.3% each.
However, healthcare shares rose 1.2%. GSK Plc and Sanofi, jumping 11.0% and 7.7% respectively, boosted the index after the drugmakers on Tuesday were spared thousands of US lawsuits claiming that the heartburn drug Zantac caused cancer.
Airbus fell 2.1% as the world’s largest planemaker abandoned a numerical forecast for jet deliveries and a date for its key production goal.