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* STOXX 600 down at two-month lows
* Weak Chinese data weighs on mining stocks
* Tesco, Unilever in dispute, shares in both fall
By Sudip Kar-Gupta
LONDON, Oct 13 European shares fell on Thursday
as underwhelming Chinese trade data knocked down mining stocks
while Standard Life and Aegon slid on broker
The pan-European STOXX 600 index fell more than 1
percent to a two-month low, with the index down by around 8
percent so far in 2016. All major sub-sectors were lower on
Standard Life fell 4.6 percent after Barclays cut the
stock to "underweight" while insurer Aegon fell more
than 5 percent after Societe Generale cut it to a "hold" on
worries over variable annuities in the United States.
Dutch navigation firm TomTom fell 6.6 percent
after it said sales of its personal navigation devices had been
weaker than expected in the third quarter.
Mining stocks such as BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto
took a hit after gloomy trade data from China, which is
the world's biggest consumer of metals.
"A 10 percent fall in Chinese exports in September not only
provides a warning signal that the world's second largest
economy is losing momentum, but also suggests a fragile global
demand," said FXTM chief market strategist Hussein Sayed.
U.S. bank Citigroup also cut its rating on BHP Billiton and
Rio Tinto to "sell" from "neutral".
Shares in Unilever and Tesco also fell,
with the two companies locked in a row over pricing sparked by a
plunge in sterling caused by Britain's shock vote in June to
quit the European Union.
Sterling has shed 18 percent against the U.S. dollar since
the "Brexit" vote.
After a brief period of stability, the sell-off has worsened
again in the past two weeks on a series of signs that the
government would prioritise controls on immigration over access
to the European single market.
"A weaker pound can only mean higher prices for consumers or
lower margins for suppliers and retailers, or a combination of
all of these," said ETX Capital markets analyst Neil Wilson.
"Supermarkets are afraid to raise prices and the
Tesco-Unilever tussle is a symptom of a bitter sector price war
that is crimping margins," added Wilson.
(Editing by Jon Boyle)