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LIVE MARKETS-Washington drama rattles Europe

* European stocks under pressure as Trump impeachment probe knocks confidence

* Euro-zone index hits Sept. 5 low

* STOXXE and major bourses set for worst day in 6 weeks

* EDF falls as co flags rising Hinkley Point costs Welcome to the home for real-time coverage of European equity markets brought to you by Reuters stocks reporters and anchored today by Josephine Mason. Reach her on Messenger to share your thoughts on market moves: rm://josephine.mason.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net


WASHINGTON DRAMA RATTLES EUROPE (0927 GMT)

Losses across Europe are deepening as investors fret about the impact of the impeachment probe into Trump, setting the major bourses on course for their biggest one-day drop in six weeks. The euro-zone stocks index is down 1.4% after hitting its weakest since Sept. 5.

The main worry among traders is that extended upheaval on the Capitol Hill will distract lawmakers and chief of the world's No. 1 economy, potentially disrupting negotiations to end the prolonged trade spat with China.

The impeachment risk could weaken Trump's bargaining power in those talks and make the Chinese less eager to pursue an immediate accord, one dealer notes, particularly if it dents his ratings and threatens his chances of winning the 2020 election.

That said, his support base is known for rally around him when he is under threats.

Trade-sensitive tech stocks are leading the European equities market lower with the index down 2.3%.

"We have Brexit issues taking a new twist and on top of that we now have impeachment issues against Trump," says one trader.

"Trade talks between China and USA are still on going with no clarity. Eco data has been very poor recently with Germany heading for a recession. So in this context with the U.S. markets near highs, the pullback is the most likely outcome from all of this."

Some are taking it more in their stride, noting that it's early days in the process and the low risk that Trump will be impeached. To be sure, an impeachment does not necessarily mean Trump will leave office.

"It may not be as big an impact as the initial reaction in the market suggests since he's recently pivoted to China and said he wants to get a trade deal done. This may make him more conciliatory," says Rory McPherson, head of investment strategy at Psigma Investment Management.


(Danilo Masoni, Thyagaraju Adinarayan and Josephine Mason)

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OPENING SNAPSHOT: EUROPE AT TWO-WEEK LOWS (0737 GMT)

European stocks are hitting two-week lows in early deals as investors shun riskier assets after the Democrats launches an impeachment probe into U.S. President Trump's dealings with Ukraine, raising worries about prolonged political upheaval in the world's No. 1 economy.

"It's not been a great 24 hours for the leaders of two of the world's most important economies and old allies. While both would rather be exploring an ambitious new post-Brexit trade deal that will bring the two countries even closer together, they're instead now fighting opposition forces at home intent on bringing them down," says Craig Erlam, senior market analyst, UK & EMEA at Oanda.

The euro-zone benchmark is down 0.6%, with Itlay's blue chips down 0.9% and Germany's DAX down 0.5%.

Semiconductors are leading the charge lower, with the tech index down 1.3% and oil & gas down 1.2% after a drop in crude prices.

Investors are also digesting more negative news from several German industrial machinery companies - Pfeiffer has plunged almost 14% in early deals, set for its worst day in six years.

Robotics firm Kuka has hit six week lows after cutting its profit outlook due to weakening auto demand, but the stock has since bounced back and is up 0.1%. The stock has been under severe pressure in recent year amid tumult in the auto sector and fell to five-year lows in August.

Among other individual moves, EDF is down 4.7% and the biggest faller on the STOXX 600 after raising the cost of its Hinkley Point project.



(Josephine Mason)

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BEFORE THE OPEN: SNEAKERS, SOAP, FASHION AND ELECTRICITY (0647 GMT)

The potential for greater political tumult in Washington that will engulf the U.S. President following the launch of an impeachment probe into Donald Trump's dealing with Ukraine have put heavy pressure on European stock futures this morning.

Futures for Germany's export-heavy DAX are down 0.6%, while Eurostoxx 50 are down 0.4%.

Not helping sentiment is a profit warning from Pfeiffer Vacuum that it's suffering order delays and expects weaker-than-expected FY results, the latest European (and German) industrial machinery company to cut guidance.

While a relatively small company by market cap, the news will underscore concerns about the health of Europe Inc ahead of Q3 results as companies suffer their third straight quarterly decline in profits. Yesterday, German truck and trailer components maker SAF Holland issued a profit alert.

Pfeiffer's shares are down as much as 9.5% in pre-market trading and the news could hurt Comet Holdings and Assa Abloy.

Cosmetics and soap maker PZ Cussons Plc has said it expects conditions in its key markets to remain challenging for the rest of the first-half, as it reported declining first-quarter revenue in Asia-Pacific and Africa. Its shares are seen down 2%.

Still consensus-busting results from Nike, the world's largest footwear maker, overnight could provide a bright spot for Adidas and online fashion company BooHoo shares are expected to get a lift from its H1 results, highlighting the shift in consumer to online away from the high street.

Puma may not benefit from the warm glow from Nike though after Gucci-owner Kering announced it's issuing a bond that can be exchanged for shares in the German sports company. Kering owns a 15.7% stake.

News that ThyssenKrupp is preparing to replace its CEO after only a year on the job is seen boosting the German steel-to-elevator conglomerate shares.

Utilities will be in focus - EDF shares are seen down 5% by one dealer after the French electricity firm warned of spiralling costs from Britain's Hinkley Point C project. The UK's United Utilities forecast higher underlying profit and revenue for the first half.



(Josephine Mason)

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ON OUR RADAR: TRAINERS, ELEVATORS AND VACUUMS (0600 GMT)

On the corporate news front, warnings from industrial machinery makers are piling up. The latest comes from Germany's Pfeiffer Vacuum, which warned of delays to orders, cut its FY sales and EBIT margin forecasts in that move that underscores worries about a prolonged European corporate recession and bodes poorly for the upcoming Q3 earnings season.

Its shares are down as much as 9.5% in premarket trading.

One bright spot overnight for sport retailers though - Nike delivered better-than-expected quarterly revenue and profit after the world's largest footwear maker pushed to sell its sneakers to consumers through its own stores and online retailers gained pace. The news sent shares up 5% and may give Adidas and Puma a lift.

Change is afoot at the top of ThyssenKrupp - it plans to end the contract of current Chief Executive Guido Kerkhoff, the latest sign of turmoil at the steel-to-elevators conglomerate, as it tries to restructure itself by selling or listing all or parts of its elevator unit, by far its most profitable business.


Here are your early headlines:


Pfeiffer Vacuum Technology Adjusts Guidance For 2019 Sales And EBIT Margin

Thyssenkrupp CEO Kerkhoff to leave, chairwoman Merz to take over

As Thomas Cook customers return home, blame game begins

Derichebourg Announces Sale Of Its Activities In Morocco

Novartis blames former AveXis executives for Zolgensma data manipulation

Greek utility Public Power Corp shrinks first-half loss

Bain and Advent in advanced talks about new Osram bid -sources

Fiat manager charged with lying about emissions even after VW scandal

Renault-FCA merger "behind us", French carmaker says


(Josephine Mason)

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THE WORRIES PILE UP (0517 GMT)

As if investors didn't have enough to worry about from a slowing euro-zone (global) economy, the U.S. trade spat with China to Brexit. Now political turmoil is set to roil Washington and financial markets after the House of Representatives launched impeachment investigation into President Trump over his dealings with Ukraine.

The move has stirred worries about a prolonged period of upheaval in Washington, which could spill into the 2020 election and could distract the head of the world's No. 1 economy as he prepares for the next round of talks with Beijing over trade. Wall Street sold off and Asian equities are under pressure overnight.

IG financial spreadbetters expect London's FTSE to open 17 points lower at 7,274, Frankfurt's DAX to open 24 points lower at 12,283, and Paris' CAC to open 15 points lower at 5,613.


(Josephine Mason)

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(Reporting by Danilo Masoni, Josephine Mason and Thyagaraju Adinarayan)