CNBC-European markets opened lower on Wednesday, extending the losses seen in Asian markets, after Moody’s downgraded its credit rating for the world’s second-largest economy China. The pan-European Stoxx 600 edged down 0.07 percent in early deals, with most sectors and all major European bourses trading in negative territory. Moody’s decision to lower its rate on China to “A1” from “Aa3”, arguing that Beijing will “erode” its financial strength somewhat in the next few years, hurt Europe and sent the Chinese yuan and stocks lower. China’s finance ministry was quick to dismiss the downgrade, saying that the methodology used was “inappropriate.” Basic resources – with their heavy exposure to China – were the poorest performers in Europe, down 0.72 percent. Antofagasta, Glencore, and Rio Tinto all pushed lower with the former down 1.6 percent amid earnings news. Meanwhile, the retail sector was lower by 0.16 percent. Home improvements retailer Kingfisher was trading at the bottom of the benchmark after it reported a slip in sales in its first-quarter results. Marks and Spencer was also lower by 0.2 percent shortly after announcing a 10 percent decline in annual profits. Elsewhere, Britvic was at the top of the benchmark after reporting a 11.5 percent rise in first-half revenue. Also on the agenda Wednesday, investors will also be looking at the U.S., where lawmakers prepare the next budget. President Donald Trump asked them to cut $3.6 billion in spending with reductions to health care and food assistance programs for the poor. Trump is traveled to the Vatican on Wednesday. The European Central Bank will also publish its latest Financial Stability Review report and in the evening, the U.S. Federal Reserve will release the minutes from its latest monetary policy meeting. Lastly, oil prices were trading higher early Wednesday ahead of a key OPEC meeting. Current expectations point to an extension to OPEC-led supply cuts.
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