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European markets set to open sharply lower, as North Korea jitters, Brexit talks dominate

European markets are expected to post solid losses at the market open on Tuesday, as geopolitical concerns surrounding North Korea raise fresh jitters in trading worldwide.

Looking ahead to major bourses, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 is expected to open 40 points down at 7,361, while the German DAX is set to start lower, off 77 points at 12,046 and the French CAC off 38 points at 5,041, according to IG.

On Tuesday, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters that a ballistic missile that was fired by North Korea had passed over Japan. Abe has since stated that the missile posed a grave threat to the country of Japan, and that he would ask the United Nations to ramp up the pressure on Pyongyang.

Markets worldwide showed signs of nervousness, with investors turning to safe-haven assets. Futures in Europe and the U.S. pointed to a negative open on Tuesday, while markets in fell into the red on the back of the geopolitical news.Asia Stepping aside from North Korea, Tuesday will mark the second day of the U.K. and European Union’s (EU) third round of Article 50 negotiations, where officials are meeting in Brussels to discuss the future of both regions after Britain exits the bloc.

On Monday, EU Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier told reporters that he was concerned by how slow the progress had been so far when it came to the negotiations, according to Reuters.

Brexit Secretary David Davis has been calling for flexibility and imagination from the talks, so that the groups can focus on their future relationship after Brexit has been completed, however the EU is pressing more towards solving the key divorce issues first.

Meanwhile Hurricane Harvey continues to draw storm clouds over market sentiment, especially when it comes to what this will mean for oil.

Prices however posted slight gains in early trade, boosted by news of supply disruptions in Colombia and Libya. At 7.05 a.m. London time (2.05 a.m ET), Brent traded around $52.12 a barrel, while U.S. crude last stood around $46.80.

On the earnings front, distribution firm Bunzl published its half yearly financial report for the first six months of 2017. The U.K. based company saw its revenue rise 20 percent in the first half, hitting £4.1 billion ($5.3 billion).

Meanwhile a whole host of data is set to be released on Tuesday, including revised Gross Domestic Product (GDP) data in France.

German consumer confidence is set to reach a near-16 year high in September, according to GfK. The company’s consumer sentiment indicator, which looks at a survey of around 2,000 Germans, rose to 10.9 going into September, marking the fifth consecutive monthly increase.

Source: CNBC

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