European stocks fell on Monday as worries about a Chinese economic slowdown and the U.S.-China trade war outweighed Friday's strong U.S. jobs data, in a quiet start to trading before several big events later in the week. The Federal Reserve meets on Wednesday and new European Central Bank chief Christine Lagarde holds her first policy meeting on Thursday, which will also see a parliamentary election in Britain, with the results due on Friday.
However, at the forefront of most investors' minds is an impending Dec. 15 deadline for the United States to impose a new round of tariffs on China. On Friday that the deadline was still in place to impose a new round of tariffs on Chinese consumer goods, but President Donald Trump likes where trade talks with China are going. "If we see Donald Trump decide not to delay tariffs, that would lead to a risk-off reaction in markets,"
European shares slipped. The Euro STOXX 600 was down marginally, while the German DAX dropped 0.1 percent. France's CAC 40 shed 0.2 percent and the FTSE 100 was flat. That followed small gains in Asia, where Japan's benchmark. Nikkei added 0.33 percent while MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan gained 0.15 percent.
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British companies are enjoying their best month in more than a year, a survey showed on Friday, the strongest evidence yet of a post-election boost to the economy that could deter the Bank of England from cutting interest rates next week.
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A group of ruling party lawmakers are working on a proposal for Japan to issue its own digital currency, one of the members said, in a sign of alarm Tokyo is feeling about Facebook's Libra and China's drive to create a digital yuan.
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Indian shares edged higher in early trading on Friday, as investors assessed a clutch of corporate earnings reports and awaited the release of the Federal budget.
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Gold edged lower on Friday after the World Health Organisation stopped short of declaring the China virus outbreak a global emergency, though prices were still on track to post a weekly gain.