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European stocks under pressure after Wall Street meltdown

Barbara Kollmeyer

European stocks fell early Wednesday, with banks and oil majors leading the declines, as investors remained on edge a day after the worst day for U.S. equities in a month. The Stoxx Europe 600 index fell 1.2% to 354, with the German DAX 30 index down 1.4% to 11,182, the French CAC 40 index off 1.4% to 4,909.19 and the FTSE 100 index down 1.3% to 19,166.24. The Dow industrials fell 800 points on Tuesday after investors got spooked by a flattening yield curve and concern that weekend U.S.-China trade talks have been overhyped. However, while Asian markets also fell Wednesday, losses stabilized after a statement from China's Ministry of Commerce, which described weekend trade talks as "very successful," and said it would implement measures agreed very soon. The British pound continued to weaken, trading at $1.2712 from $1.2720 late Tuesday after a series of defeats in parliament for U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May over Brexit and a European court ruling that Brexit was reversible. Oil prices dropped ahead of this week's OPEC meeting, and that was pressuring Europe's heavyweight oil producers. West Texas Intermediate crude fell 1.8% to $52.28 a barrel and Brent crude dropped 1.7% to $61 a barrel. U.S. markets will close Wednesday to mark a national day of mourning for the death of former President George H.W. Bush