European markets set for mixed open as US-China trade row escalates

European markets are set for a mixed open Thursday morning amid a deepening U.S.-China trade dispute and a flurry of corporate earnings.

Britain’s FTSE 100 was seen 34 points higher at 7,766, the German DAX 2 points lower at 12,623, France’s CAC 40 flat and the Italian FTSE MIB down 15 points, according to IG data.

Asian equities traded mostly higher, but gains were capped throughout the session by ongoing global trade tensions. China on Wednesday imposed additional tariffs of 25 percent on $16 billion worth of U.S.

fuel and steel imports, in retaliation to planned extra duties from the U.S. on Chinese products set to be enforced from August 23. Meanwhile, Chinese factory inflation data showed a slowdown in price growth in July, although consumer prices rose from the previous month.

The British pound remained under pressure against the dollar Thursday morning, although it pared losses seen in the previous session slightly. The FTSE 100 is often supported by weakness in sterling, due in large part to many of its listed companies making profits in dollars.

Concerns over the U.K.’s withdrawal from the European Union continued into Thursday, with ongoing fears of a no-deal Brexit. U.K. Trade Minister Liam Fox’s comments over the weekend that the chances of a hard exit had been increased to 60-40 from 50-50 weighed on sentiment.

In geopolitical news, the U.S. administration is to punish Russia with sanctions over the Kremlin’s alleged involvement in the poising of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal in Salisbury, England. According to State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert, the sanctions will go into effect on or around August 22.

On the corporate front, Swedish furniture retailer IKEA is opening its first-ever store in India Thursday. And in earnings news, Adidas, Merck, Orsted, Thyssenkrupp, TUI, Zurich Insurance, Adecco and Legal & General Group are set to report results.

There are no major economic data releases expected in Europe on Thursday.

Source: CNBC