European shares drop on growth fears, London slides on fresh Brexit drama

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(Reuters) – European shares opened lower on Wednesday, with London stocks lagging the most on fresh Brexit drama, while global growth fears intensified after several dismal factory reports were released across the bloc and the United States.

The FTSE 100 index () slipped 0.5%, the largest drop across European regions and ahead of UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s talks with Brussels as he prepares to unveil his final Brexit offer later in the day.

Investors were still reeling from the shock of dismal U.S. and euro zone factory data on Tuesday, which saw the pan-European STOXX 600 index () and the euro zone index () log their biggest one-day drop in two months.

Adding to investor anxieties, European companies looked set for their worst quarterly earnings in three years as revenue drops for the first time since early 2018, according to the latest Refinitiv data.

The STOXX 600 index () fell 0.3% by 0709 GMT, with the food & beverage index () clinging to gains as shares in French spirits maker Pernod Ricard (PA:) rose 2.1% after Jefferies upgraded the stock to “buy”.

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