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Stocks – European Markets Slide in Cautious Trade

© Reuters.  Frankfurt Stock Exchange© Reuters. Frankfurt Stock Exchange

Investing.com – European markets opened higher in cautious trade on Thursday, as investors eyed a fresh series of corporate earnings reports and as Brexit negotiations were set to resume.

The EURO STOXX 50 fell 0.24%, France’s CAC 40 slipped 0.20%, while Germany’s DAX 30 was down 0.31% by 03:40 a.m. ET (07:40 GMT).

Brexit negotiations were set to resume later Thursday with hopes of breaking a deadlock before the end of the year.

Market participants were also monitoring U.S. President Donald Trump’s trip throughout Asia. In a meeting with Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on Wednesday, Trump said he aims to address what he considers to be unfair practices from China that have led to a mismatch of benefits from U.S.-China trade.

The remarks came a day after Donald Trump addressed tensions with North Korea, saying that Pyongyang “has interpreted America’s past restraint as weakness” and that “this would be a fatal miscalculation.”

Financial stocks were broadly higher, as French lenders BNP Paribas (PA:BNPP) and Societe Generale (PA:SOGN) gained 0.14% and 0.43%, while Germany’s Deutsche Bank (DE:DBKGn) and Commerzbank (DE:CBKG) advanced 0.90% and 1.96%.

Commerzbank earlier reported a year-on-year 47% increase in operating profit to €629 million, slightly above projections for €609 million.

Among peripheral lenders, Italy’s Intesa Sanpaolo (MI:ISP) and Unicredit (MI:CRDI) rose 0.28% and 1.90% respectively, while Spanish banks Banco Santander (MC:SAN) and BBVA (MC:BBVA) added 0.21% and 0.17%.

On the downside, Siemens AG Class N (DE:SIEGn) plummeted 3.31% amid reports the German industrial company is set to conclude preparations to sell its health care unit by the end of March 2018.

Assicurazioni Generali (MI:GASI) added to losses, with shares down 0.51% after the Italian insurer reported a 9.9% slide in nine-month net profits, wieghed by losses incurred in the sale of its Dutch business.

In London, FTSE 100 slipped 0.15%, affected by Burberry Group (LON:BRBY), whose shares dove 9.37% after the luxury retailer unveiled plans for further cost savings by simplifing product ranges and closing down non-performing stores.

Hikma Pharmaceuticals PLC (LON:HIK) was also on the downside, as shares plummeted 8.45% after the drugmaker reduced forecasts for its generics business for the third time this year, citing challenging market conditions in the U.S.

Mining stocks were also broadly lower on the commodity-heavy index. Shares in Rio Tinto (LON:RIO) slipped 0.10% and Fresnillo (LON:FRES) fell 0.30%, while BHP Billiton (LON:BLT) and Glencore (LON:GLEN) tumbled 1.19% and 1.46% respectively.

Meanwhile, U.K. lenders tracked their European counterparts broadly higher. The Royal Bank of Scotland (LON:RBS) added 0.18% and Lloyds Banking (LON:LLOY) rose 0.38%, while Barclays (LON:BARC) gained 0.39% and HSBC Holdings (LON:HSBA) climbed 0.69%

Astrazeneca (LON:AZN) was one of the best performers on the index, with shares up 2.04% after the pharmaceutical company said said its profits are unlikely to fall as much as initially anticipated this year, after the decline in sales of its older drugs slowed in the third quarter.

In the U.S., equity markets pointed to a lower open. The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a 0.14% fall, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.19% decline, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.19% loss.

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