March 8, 2019 / 8:38 AM / 18 days ago

Cocktail of poor data drives European stocks further down

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LONDON, March 8 (Reuters) - European stocks headed for their biggest weekly fall since December on Friday, extending losses as weak China trade data and German industrial orders tightened bears’ grip on the market, confirming a sharp global economic slowdown.

The STOXX 600 fell 0.5 percent by 0831 GMT, on track for its biggest weekly fall since Dec. 21 when a sharp selloff was sweeping global markets.

Euro zone bank stocks had led falls on Thursday when the European Central Bank cut its growth forecasts and pushed out an interest rate hike.

They dropped again on Friday, while basic resources fell 1.4 percent and autos stocks tumbled 1.6 percent after China reported its biggest drop in exports in three years and German industrial orders unexpectedly fell.

Germany’s DAX was down 0.6 percent.

Company news provided no silver linings, with results roundly disappointing investors.

Swiss industrial machinery firm VAT Group tumbled 4.6 percent after it reported lower full-year earnings than expected and a weaker guidance for 2019.

EssilorLuxottica shares fell 4.4 percent after the merged eyewear group’s maiden set of results disappointed investors.

Deutsche Bank shares fell 0.5 percent, slightly outperforming the market, and Commerzbank rose 1 percent after Focus magazine reported their chief executives have resumed talks over a potential merger.

British gambling firm GVC Holdings sank 12.6 percent to the bottom of the STOXX after its CEO sold 2.1 million shares in the company. (Reporting by Helen Reid; Editing by Catherine Evans)

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