Friday, December 14, 2018


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European stocks opened lower Thursday morning, amid fears of a fresh flare-up in tensions between the world’s two largest economies.

Stoxx 600 was down around 0.8 percent shortly after the opening bell, with all sectors and major bourses in negative territory.

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Market focus is largely attuned to the arrest of a top executive at Chinese tech giant Huawei, amid investor concern that the news could derail progress in U.S.-Sino trade talks.

Canadian authorities said Wednesday that they had arrested Huawei’s global chief financial officer in Vancouver, where she is facing extradition to the United States. Meng Wanzhou, the daughter of Huawei’s founder, was arrested on December 1, reportedly over the possible violation of sanctions against Iran.

The arrest has sparked concern of a major collision between the U.S. and China, at a time when both economic powers were set to begin three months of negotiations aimed at de-escalating their global trade war.

The U.S. and China had agreed to temporarily hold off on imposing additional charges against each other’s goods over the weekend. President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping‘s trade truce prompted global stocks to surge higher at the start of the trading week, but fading optimism over the political deal has since pared equity market gains.

In Asia, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares, excluding Japan, fell almost 2 percent on Thursday.

Stateside, stock markets are set to re-open after traders observed a national day of mourning for President George H. W. Bush on Wednesday.

Back in Europe, market participants are likely to closely monitor a much-anticipated meeting between OPEC and non-OPEC members in Vienna, Austria on Thursday and Friday. The 15-member group and its allied partners are widely expected to impose steep output restrictions from January, in order to prop up tumbling oil prices.

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