European stocks were muted early in Wednesday’s session as comments from U.S. President Donald Trump reignited fears over trade.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 traded just below the flatline mid-morning, oil and gas stocks slipping 1.1% while construction and material stocks were the strongest early performers, rising 0.6%.
European Markets: FTSE, GDAXI, FCHI, IBEX
Market focus is largely attuned to the U.S.-China trade spat. President Trump on Tuesday said that the U.S. and China still have a “long way to go” on trade, adding that Washington could slap tariffs on an additional $325 billion in Chinese goods “if we want.”
Trump’s comments come after both countries agreed not to ratchet up trade tensions in an effort to restart talks. Washington and Beijing have slapped tariffs on billions of dollars’ worth of each other’s imports since last year.
Meanwhile, earnings are also in focus for investors. In Europe, Swedish Orphan Biovitrum shares rallied 15% in morning trade after the company forecast full-year profit and sales growth. Shares of Swiss watchmaker Swatch Group climbed 4.5% after it issued guidance for strong growth ahead despite a fall in first-half profits.
Swedish manufacturer Dometic Group saw its shares tumble 8.2% in early deals following disappointing second-quarter earnings, while Swedbank also slipped 5.8% after it cut its dividend amid uncertainties over its exposure to a Baltic money-laundering scandal.
In terms of data, British inflation matched the Bank of England’s 2% target for the second consecutive month, while Italian industrial sales and euro zone inflation figures will be released Wednesday morning.