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.

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