European stocks dropped as geopolitical tensions continue to rise

LONDON — All but one of Europe’s major stock indexes lost ground on Tuesday as geopolitical tensions across the globe continued to escalate, pushing investors away from riskier stocks and into safe havens.

The White House said on Monday President Donald Trump was open to authorizing additional strikes on Syria if its government uses chemical weapons again or deploys barrel bombs, while North Korea warned of a nuclear attack on the United States if provoked as a U.S. Navy strike group moved towards the western Pacific.

This helped keep European stocks, which had been subdued all day, below the line during late afternoon trading, with US stocks also seeing significant losses.

Among major indexes only Britain’s FTSE 100 and France’s CAC 40 saw gains by the close of play. The FTSE ended 0.21% higher at 7,364 points, while the CAC climbed just 0.01%.

Inflation data out earlier in the day was a key driver of the FTSE’s movements.

“With the majority of prints coming in weaker than expected, as headline and core CPI readings hold steady, Sterling quickly pared initial gains to the benefit of the FTSE’s strongly weighted contingent of foreign earning stocks,” Henry Croft, analyst at Accendo Markets said.

“This has helped to offset weakness in UK focused stocks as UK Retail Sales are reported to have dropped by their sharpest amount in 3 years, according to the BRC.”

Here’s the index’s chart:

And here’s how the rest of the continent performed (note the significant losses for many bourses):

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