Stock markets in Europe dropped by up to 0.7 percent following a mass killing by a man driving a truck who plowed through a crowd in the French Côte d'Azur city of Nice, killing at least 84 people.
The Eurostoxx 50 Index, covering the 50 largest blue-chip firms in the 19-nation euro zone, and the German blue-chip DAX Index both dropped 0.5 percent after market open, but trimmed losses to 0.3 percent after 20 minutes of trading.
The French blue-chip index CAC40 dropped as much as 0.7 percent and traded down 0.5 percent. The euro rose 0.1 percent versus the dollar, trading at $1.1135.
Stock markets have mostly risen over the past three weeks, rebounding from lows after Britain’s decision on June 23 to leave the European Union. The Dow Jones Index closed up 0.7 percent at 18,506 points on Thursday, setting a new all-time high, while the Japanese blue-chip Nikkei 225 Index gained 1.2 percent on Friday.
Analysts said the attacks would trigger investors to hold their positions, but fundamentally not stop the trend of climbing stock prices, which have been buoyed by expectations of continued economic growth globally and monetary stimulus measures in Europe.
French President François Hollande extended France’s state of emergency, which had been in place since Islamic terrorists killed 129 people in Paris in November, by an additional three months. The heightened state of security was originally set to end on July 26.
“France has been hit on the day of its national celebrations – the 14th of July, a symbol of freedom – because the rights of humans have been disavowed by extremists,” President Hollande said.
The attack was carried out Thursday night at around 10:30 p.m. local time by a 31-year old Frenchman born in Tunisia, news agency Reuters reported, citing a French police source. After he had driven for 2 kilometers into people celebrating along Nice’s seaside boulevard, security forces managed to shoot and kill the driver.
A German school teacher and two pupils from Berlin were killed in the attack, Berlin-based public broadcaster RBB reported, citing unnamed directors of the school.
“The terrorist nature of the attack cannot be denied. We must show absolute vigilance and determination. All of France is under the threat of Islamic terrorism,” Mr. Hollande said.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, currently visiting Mongolia for a Europe-Asia summit, said Germany stood side by side with France to fight terrorism. U.S. President Barack Obama condemned the killings in France, saying it appeared to be a terrorist attack.
Gilbert Kreijger is an editor with Handelsblatt Global Edition in Berlin. To contact the author: [email protected]