European stocks fell sharply across the board Wednesday as the global 'Trump Trade' rally stalled amid increasing concerns that the U.S. President and his Republican colleagues can deliver on their ambitious fiscal stimulus and tax reform plans.
The region-wide Stoxx 600 Europe index was marked 0.95% lower in the opening hour of trading, taking the benchmark to a one-week low of 372.09. Britain's FTSE 100 lost more than 70 points in the first hour and looks on pace for its biggest single-day decline in more than two months. Germany's DAX performance index, meanwhile, gave back 92 points, or 0.76% from Tuesday's close and France's CAC-40 dropped 39 points, or 0.78%.
ING Group NV (ING) - Get Report shares were one of the biggest early movers in Amsterdam after it said it could face "significant" fines related to money laundering investigations in both Europe and the United States after the probes were made public in the Dutch media.
ING shares fell more than 3.9% to change hands at €13.84 each, trimming the three month gain to around 2% compared to a 2.5% advance for the Stoxx 600 Europe Banks Index.
Akzo Nobel (AKZOY) shares also fell sharply in Amsterdam after the Dutch paints and chemicals group rejected a second takeover approach from PPG Industries (PPG) - Get Report that values the group at $24.1 billion.
Akzo Nobel shares were marked 2.4% lower at €74.80 each by 09:00 GMT, valuing the group at just over €18.85 billion. The stock hit an intra-day record of €79 each Tuesday and has gained around 18% since PPG's first approach on March 9.
European stocks had been bracing for significant declines following a global market sell off that pared more than 200 points from the Dow Jones Industrial Average and pushed stocks in Asia to their biggest single-day decline in two weeks.
The region-wide MSCI Asia ex-Japan index was marked 1.3% lower by 06:45 GMT, the biggest single-day decline in two weeks, while Japan's Nikkei 225 dipped more than 2% to close at 19,041.38 points.
The losses followed steep declines on Wall Street Tuesday as investors saw the U.S. dollar test 2017 lows on global foreign exchange markets and grew increasingly concerned about the ability of President Donald Trump and his Republican colleagues to deliver on their ambitious fiscal stimulus and tax reform plans.
The dollar index, a measure of the greenback's strength against a basket of six major currencies, rebounded modestly in Europe and marked 0.1% higher at 99.59 but it still sitting at multi-week lows. The moves led U.S. Treasury yields lower, with 2-year notes slipping 1 basis point to 1.26% and 10-year notes holding steady at 2.41%.
Oil prices were also under pressure in late U.S. trading and again overnight after data from the American Petroleum Institute showed commercial oil stockpiles grew by a much higher-than-expected 4.5 million barrels to 533.6 million in the week ending March 17.
WTI futures for May delivery were marked 10 cents lower at $47.80 each in early European trading while Brent contracts traded 14 cents lower at $50.66 per barrel.
U.S. equity futures are signalling another tough day for Wall Street traders, with the Dow poised to lose another 45 points at the bell after Tuesday's 1.14% decline that pared 237 points from the benchmark.
The S&P 500, which fell 1.24% in Tuesday trading, its biggest decline of the year, is priced to dip another 3.5 points while the Nasdaq looks set to add another 7.2 points to Tuesday's 107.7 point slide when trading begins later in the day.