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Aug 23, 2018

European Markets at Close Report: European stocks close lower as US-China trade tensions escalate I CNBC


Ryan Browne, Silvia Amaro



Stocks in Europe hovered around the flatline on Thursday after Beijing implemented new retaliatory tariffs against the United States.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 was marginally higher. Tech stocks were the outperformers, continuing the momentum seen on Wall Street. Basic resources and autos fell on the back of renewed trade tensions.
China officially retaliated Thursday against fresh duties, worth $16 billion, from the United States. This takes place at a time when officials from both countries meet in Washington to talk trade.
Looking across the European benchmark, Sunrise Communications was the top performer, up 7.02 percent, after reporting second-quarter results and raising its outlook for the year.
Ryanair shares jumped 5.93 percent. This was after the Irish pilots union Forsa said that an agreement had been reached with the company after a 22-hour session of talks. The dispute centered around issues such as base transfers, promotions and annual leave.
Stateside, stocks continued the mixed global sentiment, barely moving as concerns over legal troubles affecting two of President Donald Trump's key allies weighed on sentiment.
Leading central bankers are meeting at a symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, to discuss the future of monetary policy. Fed Chair Jerome Powell will address attendees in a speech on Friday.
In politics, Chancellor Angela Merkel is reportedly seeking to get a German official at the helm of the European Commission — meaning she will not back her central bank governor, Jens Weidmann, to become the next president of the European Central Bank, Handelsblatt reported.
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And in the U.K., newly appointed Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab released advice on "how to prepare" in case the country leaves the European Union without a deal. Businesses were warned to prepare for increased trade barriers, and consumers cautioned over higher credit card charges when purchasing EU products in the event of a "no deal" Brexit.
French business activity saw a four-month high in August. The IHS Markit Index rose to 55.1 from 54.4 in the previous month. Elsewhere, business activity in the euro zone edged higher in August, but concerns over trade tensions hold back some manufacturers.
The European Central Bank published minutes from a meeting of policymakers in July 26 on Thursday. ECB rate-setters highlighted protectionism and global trade tensions as the biggest risks to the euro area.