Europe's autos stocks were the worst performers Wednesday, down 3.47 percent after President Donald Trump said at a campaign rally that the U.S. would slap 25 percent tariffs on "every car that comes into the United States from the European Union."
In a Wall Street Journal interview published Tuesday, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said that a decision regarding autos charges would be delayed because of ongoing negotiations with Mexico, Canada and the European Commission. He declined to set a new timeline.
Shares of Schaeffler, Michelin and Faurecia were all trading lower Wednesday morning, after Germany's Continental issued a profit warning and dragged other auto supplier stocks into negative territory. Continental was trading 13.68 percent lower.
Looking at individual stocks, hearing aid maker GN Store Nord rose to the top of the European benchmark after raising its 2018 sales and profit outlook. The stock was up by 7.44 percent.
Elsewhere, Norway's Marine Harvest was trading lower Wednesday, after the company — one of the world's largest salmon producers — cut its 2018 output forecast. Shares of the firm were down around 1 percent.
Market focus is largely attuned to trade discussions between the U.S. and China this week, with investors hopeful they might be able to find a way to resolve an escalating global trade conflict.
President Trump reportedly said Monday that he did not anticipate much progress from the trade negotiations.
On Tuesday, two of Trump's key allies, Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort, were surrounded in legal troubles. Cohen, Trump's former personal lawyer, pleaded guilty to eight criminal charges, while Manafort, the president's former campaign manager, was convicted on eight counts in a separate case.