European markets lower amid heightened trade tensions

European stocks were lower Wednesday morning, as renewed concerns over international trade conflicts hampered investors’ appetite for riskier assets.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 was down around 0.4 percent during early morning deals, with all sectors and major bourses in negative territory.

Europe’s basic resources stocks were the worst performers shortly after the opening bell, off more than 1.2 percent amid global trade concerns. President Donald Trump reportedly said over the weekend that he is prepared to impose tariffs on another $200 billion worth of Chinese goods as soon as a public comment period ends on Thursday. Mondi, BHP Billiton and Anglo American were all trading more than 1 percent lower Wednesday morning.

Looking at individual stocks, France’s Biomerieux surged to the top of the European benchmark during early morning deals. Shares of the Paris-listed stock climbed 10 percent after reporting stronger-than-anticipated first-half earnings.

Meanwhile, German conglomerate Bayer slumped towards the bottom of the index amid earnings news. The chemicals giant reported a 3.9 percent increase in second-quarter core earnings on Wednesday, as the addition of U.S. seeds maker Monsanto helped to offset weak consumer health care sales and unfavorable currency effects. However, shares of the company slipped over 3 percent.

NAFTA talks

Market focus is largely attuned to global trade developments, with discussions between Canada and the U.S. expected to resume Wednesday. Both countries are looking to find common ground to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) after the last round of talks ended without a deal.

In Asia, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares, excluding Japan, slipped 0.5 percent on Wednesday.

On the data front, the euro area is expected to publish retail sales data for July at around 10:00 a.m. London time.

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