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European stocks lower as U.S-China trade talks set to commence

European stocks traded mostly lower as trade negotiations between the world’s two largest economies are due to recommence

European stocks traded mostly lower Thursday morning amid a choppy session, with high-level trade talks between the U.S. and China set to commence against a backdrop of geopolitical tensions.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 pared its earlier losses to trade 0.2% lower by late morning. Basic resources added 1.3% to lead gains while health care stocks slid 1%.

Trade negotiations between the world’s two largest economies are due to recommence in Washington later on Thursday, with the White House denying a report from the South China Morning Post (SCMP) that Chinese Vice Premier Liu He intends to leave after the first day of minister-level meetings.

The SCMP also reported that no progress was made between deputy-level delegations from Washington and Beijing on Monday and Tuesday, citing unnamed sources with knowledge of the meetings.

There had been reports Wednesday that China was considering a partial deal, but the White House official told CNBC that President Trump has yet to decide whether a breakthrough can be made.

Meanwhile, Turkey’s lira slid on Wednesday, breaking through a perceived key support level of 5.85 against the dollar.

Asian stocks rebounded Thursday after the New York Times reported Wednesday that U.S. President Donald Trump is set to grant licenses permitting American companies to sell nonsensitive supplies to blacklisted Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei.

In Europe, a meeting between U.K. and European Union Brexit negotiators has been delayed until Friday, Reuters reported, after the EU told British Prime Minister Boris Johnson that substantial concessions are required if a last-minute deal is to be agreed before the October 31 deadline.

U.K. GDP data published Thursday beat forecasts, rising 0.3% in the three months to August as July’s growth was revised up from 0.3% to 0.4%. The figures place Britain on track to avoid a recession in the third quarter.

In terms of individual stocks, luxury goods maker LVMH climbed 4% to lead the Stoxx 600 after strong results, pulling fellow luxury brand Christian Dior 3.3% higher in early trade.

Danish bioscience company Chr. Hansen tumbled 12.9% after missing profit expectations, while Dutch health technology company Philips fell 8.2% after warning it will miss its 2019 margin goal, due to rising tariffs and falling margins in its Connected Care business.

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