LONDON — Fears of a U.S. interest rate hike as early as December sent European stock markets tumbling in midmorning trading on Thursday, with the FTSE MIB in Milan leading the way.
The Italian market was down 1.4 percent to 16,241.04; followed by the CAC 40 in Paris, 1.3 percent to 4,396.06, and the DAX in Frankfurt, 1.2 percent to 10,395.16. The FTSE 100 in London slid 0.8 percent to 6,969.56.
The euro traded at $1.10, while the pound fetched $1.22 and the Swiss franc equaled $1.01 at 9:55 a.m. CET.
Retail and luxury stocks were also down, with the morning’s biggest fallers including Unilever, 2.4 percent to 40 euros, after the company reported flat sales and rising prices in its fiscal third quarter.
Kering fell 1.6 percent to 187.50 euros; while the British supermarkets Tesco and J Sainsbury both slid — 2 percent to 1.97 pounds and 1.6 percent to 2.30 pounds respectively. Metro fell 1.7 percent to 26.69 euros, while LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton was down 1.2 percent to 162.35 euros.
Among the very few stocks to gain ground were French Connection Group, 1.1 percent to 33.50 pounds; and MySale Group, 1.8 percent to 0.84 pounds.