UPDATE 2-European stocks skid on gloomy business activity data, German energy troubles


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    * Germany triggers gas alarm stage
    * EZ services PMI sinks to 52.8 from 56.1 in June  
    * Valneva surges on EMA endorsement for COVID-19 shot 
    * Norway central bank hikes by 50 bps 

 (For a Reuters live blog on U.S., UK and European stock
markets, click  LIVE/  or type LIVE/ in a news window)
    By Sruthi Shankar and Susan Mathew
    June 23 (Reuters) - European shares hit more than one-year
lows on Thursday as slowing euro zone business activity
heightened growth worries, while German shares dropped 1.8%
after the country triggered the "alarm stage" of its emergency
gas plan. 
    The continent-wide STOXX 600 index  .STOXX  dropped 0.8%,
with euro zone banks  .SX7P  shedding 4.5%. Euro zone bond
yields also slid as did the euro  EUR= .  GVD/EUR 
    The German DAX  .GDAXI  slid to over three-month lows as
falling Russian supplies prompted Thursday's move - the latest
escalation in a standoff between Europe and Moscow since the
Russian invasion of Ukraine that has exposed the bloc's
dependence on Russian gas supplies.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL1N2YA0D0
    A S&P Global survey showed euro zone business growth slowed
significantly this month, and by much more than expected, as
consumers concerned about soaring bills opted to stay at home
and defer purchases to save money. A PMI covering the bloc's
dominant services industry sank to 52.8 from 56.1.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nZRN004KE5
    "There was this underlying expectation that services are
still doing well. The PMI's poured some cold water on that
belief," said Andrea Cicione, head of strategy at TS Lombard.
    Other economically sensitive sectors including automakers
 .SXAP , miners  .SXPP  and oil & gas stocks  .SXEP  slipped
between 2% and 3.6%. 
    Healthcare  .SXDP , utilities  .SX6P  and some luxury names
were the only gainers on Thursday. 
    "Until central banks get some signal to pivot towards a more
dovish stance, the market will continue to focus on downside
risks to growth," Ciicone said. 
    The European Central Bank is set to raise its deposit rate
above zero next month, while U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome
Powell reiterated the U.S. central bank's commitment to control
inflation even at the risk of an economic downturn.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL1N2Y917N
    Norway's central bank raised its benchmark interest rate by
50 basis points on Thursday, its largest single hike since 2002.
    But traders are scaling back their bets on how far central
banks will be able to lift interest rates this cycle, as
recession fears grip.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL8N2YA2XG
    European shares had briefly cut session losses to edge up
tracking a rally in U.S. stock futures before moving back into
the red even after a strong open on Wall Street.  .N 
    The benchmark STOXX 600 has shed nearly 19% since hitting a
record closing high on Jan. 5, and if losses continue, the index
could confirm a bear market, or 20%, decline from a recent peak.
    In company news, Valneva  VLS.PA  surged 19.6% after its
COVID-19 vaccine was endorsed by the European Medicines Agency
on Thursday.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL1N2YA167

PMI    https://tmsnrt.rs/3tV2CUC
 (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi
Aich and Alison Williams)
 ((sruthi.shankar@thomsonreuters.com; within U.S. +1 646 223
8780; outside U.S. +91 80 6182 2787;))

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