European Markets Extend Losses as Oil, Autos, Financials Hit the Deck

European stock markets extended losses on Wednesday, falling broadly across the board, as oil stocks hit the deck and auto manufacturers and financials fell.

In an almost deja-vu callback to the Brexit vote, market concerns also mounted on Wednesday morning over narrowing opinion polls in the U.S. that appear to show Hillary Clinton's lead over Donald Trump shrinking in the race to the White House.

Political risks also helped to push the interest rate and inflation narrative of recent weeks into the back seat, with the prospect of a hawkish Fed statement on Wednesday seeming unlikely, as bond yields came down across the continent.

At the heart of Wednesday's commodity slump were U.S. crude oil inventory numbers, which posted a record increase during the recent week. Inventories rose to more than 14 million barrels, up from a contraction of 600,000 in the previous week, and against expectations for a more modest rise to 1.6 million.

European automotive stocks were all down on Wednesday after national figures for new vehicle registrations in both France and Germany were released. Most of the major manufacturers experienced a fall in sales in at least one of the major continental markets.

Elsewhere, financial stocks headed for a second day of losses, with all of the continent's heavyweights seeing their shares fall by more than 1%.

In London, the FTSE 100 fell by 1% to 6,849.4 while the mid-cap FTSE 250 fell by 0.4% to 17,461.4.

Leading the decline among national benchmarks in Europe was the German DAX, which fell by 1.4% to 10,380.4. The French CAC 40 fell by 1.1% to 4,420.1. The Europe Stoxx 600 Index, the broadest measure of European stocks, fell by 1.1% to 331.7.

With uncertainty abounding throughout the session, 10-year yields in the U.K., France and Germany all fell, with the U.K. Gilt yield falling by nearly 5 basis points to 1.08%, the German Bund down 2 basis points to 0.13% and the French Tresor yield down by 3 basis points to 0.45%.

Both the pound and the euro were higher against the greenback for the session. The pound sterling was changing hands at $1.2311 shortly before stock markets closed, and the euro was trading at $1.1113 around the close of the session.

In individual stocks, the top faller among London blue chips for the second session running was Asia-focused bank Standard Chartered, which fell nearly 5% again. The stock has been hammered since delivering a poorer-than-expected third-quarter update on Tuesday, alongside news that it faces regulatory actions in Hong Kong over an IPO it sponsored in 2009.

Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A) stock was the second-biggest faller, down nearly 3%, as renewed oil price weakness saw it give back recent gains. The stock is up by more than 35% for 2016, despite having lost 15% of its value in January alone.

Among the biggest fallers in France was auto manufacturers Peugeot (PEUGF) and Renault (RNSDF) . Both car makers made gains in the German car market during October but lost ground on their home turf in France, according to industry figures.

In Germany, BMW (BMWYY) stock was the top faller after U.S. auto numbers showed new vehicle registrations for the premium brand falling by nearly 16% year over year. The stock closed down nearly 4% for the session.

Fellow auto firms Daimler (DDAIY) and Volkswagen (VLKAY) also saw their stocks fall by more than 2.5% each after both saw softer registrations in their home German market during October.

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