European shares extended their fall on Tuesday as weaker oil prices, pulled lower by a major diplomatic rift between Gulf Arab states, gave rise to risk adversity. The pan-European STOXX 600 benchmark dropped 0.3 percent, falling for a second session while euro zone stocks and blue chips also fell 0.3 percent.
The greatest downward pull came from healthcare stocks, however. Swiss drugmaker Roche fell 4.5 percent after investors were disappointed by findings in its Aphinity study for a key breast cancer treatment. Medical products company Convatec fell 4.8 percent after Nordic Capital and Avista sold a 250 million share placing in the stock, raising 805 million pounds ($1.04 billion).
A rift in the Middle East between Qatar and neighbours Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Bahrain caused oil to fall in choppy trading, weighing on commodities-heavy European markets. Norsk Hydro fell 1.8 percent after saying exports from the Qatalum aluminium plant in Qatar, a joint venture with Qatar Petroleum, were blocked due to the dispute.
Basic resource stocks were down 0.6 percent while oil and gas stocks also fell. Spain’s troubled Banco Popular hit another record low in choppy trading after Barclays cut its price target on the stock.
The bank’s shares have been rattled of late by fears it could be wound down by regulators if it fails to find a buyer.