World stock markets mostly fell Friday before US growth data, as a rash of disappointing company results and auto sector woes sent Europe skidding lower. Asian equities tumbled after two days of gains, as a US tech sell-off spread to the region and compounded concerns over corporate earnings. The mood also soured in Europe, where shares in Renault tumbled 5.6 percent on a weak outlook for the French carmaker despite surging sales and record profits in the first half of 2017.
In Frankfurt, BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen shares each dropped by about 1.7 percent in value.
The three were this week hit with lawsuits over their alleged collusion to drive up the prices of their cars. The suits filed almost simultaneously in US and Canadian courts come as European authorities investigate the German carmakers cartel which allegedly struck unlawful bargains to share technology and strategy.
Elsewhere Friday, London’s benchmark FTSE 100 index was down nearly a percent, weighed down by poor results from troubled telecoms and television firm BT Group.
BT shares slid 3.8 percent to 304 pence after the group posted a 42-percent slump in first-quarter profits, rocked by fresh fallout from an Italian accounting scandal.
Barclays shares fell 0.7 percent as the bank reported a first-half net loss of #1.21 billion ($1.58 billion, 1.35 billion euros) after offloading part of its African business.
“The FTSE looks set to end the week on a downbeat note, following on from a weak session for stocks in Asia,” said IG analyst Joshua Mahony.
“While US firms have been enjoying an outstanding earnings season thus far, UK-listed firms have not had it all their own way with disappointments from the likes of Barclays and BT proving a drag on the FTSE 100.”
In New York on Thursday, the tech-heavy Nasdaq’s streak of all-time high closes ended with Apple, Google-parent Alphabet and Netflix shares all slumping at least 1.5 percent.
Investors were also spooked after internet colossus Amazon reported its profit shrank despite surging sales as it poured money into growth, with its shares slipping three percent.
The Dow however closed at its second straight record following strong earnings from Verizon, Procter & Gamble and Boeing.
Meanwhile on Friday, the euro hovered close to a two-year pinnacle ahead of publication of key US second-quarter economic growth.
The European single currency had struck $1.1777 on Thursday—attaining a level that was last seen in January 2015. The dollar had also fallen sharply on Wednesday after a Federal Reserve policy statement highlighted a tepid inflation outlook.—AFP