European Equity Benchmarks Close Down

The broad-based major European indices closed sharply lower in Wednesday’s trading session, as political controversy surrounding President Trump has diminished investor confidence that he will be able to deliver promised tax cuts and stimulus programs.

In economic news, the U.K. employment rate reached a new record high of 74.8% in Q1, according to the Office for National Statistics. However, it also reported that the recent increase in consumer price inflation has caused the annual rate of real wage growth (excluding bonuses) to turn negative for the first time since 2014.

The ONS also said that labor productivity in the U.K. fell 0.5% in Q1, compared with growth of 0.4% in Q4 of 2016, according to the Office for National Statistics. It said the fall in productivity was the result of slower gross value added growth combined with an increase in total hours worked driven by growth in both employment and average weekly hours worked.

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