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European stocks trade slightly lower on US shutdown, global slowdown concerns

Holly Ellyatt
European stocks trade slightly lower on US shutdown, global slowdown concerns
  • European stock markets traded lower on Thursday as uncertainty continues to dominate investor sentiment.

European stock markets traded slightly lower on Thursday as uncertainty continues to dominate investor sentiment.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 hovered around the flatline, with all three major indexes - FTSE, the German DAX and the French CAC - in negative territory.

In terms of sectors, chemicals is at the top of the worst performing sectors, down 0.8 percent. Meanwhile, technology is the best performing sector, up 0.8 percent.

Investors will be closely monitoring an interest rate decision by the European Central Bank (ECB) at 12:45 p.m. London time. The central bank is not expected to make any policy announcements, however, although it may acknowledge a sharp slowdown in growth, raising the prospect that any further policy normalization could be delayed, Reuters reported.

In political news, the standoff between President Trump and Democrats continues. Trump said late Wednesday evening that he would comply with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's request that he will not hold a State of the Union address until the ongoing U.S. government shutdown comes to a close.

Meanwhile, the U.S.-China trade dispute was addressed by China's Vice President Wang Qishan at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos on Wednesday.

Wang said confrontation between Washington and Beijing "harms the interest of both sides" and said both economies were in a state of being mutually indispensable. "

Wang also said China could achieve sustainable growth amid concerns of a slowdown.

In other news, Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself interim president on Wednesday , winning over the backing of the Washington and many Latin American nations and prompting socialist incumbent Nicolas Maduro to break relations with the U.S.

In Brexit news, momentum behind a bid to stop a no-deal Brexit, in which Britain abruptly leaves the EU on March 29 with no divorce deal in place, seems to be gathering momentum. Meanwhile, British finance minister Philip Hammond will address business leaders at WEF in Davos on Thursday and will say that they should continue to
invest in the country after Brexit.



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