European markets to open lower as traders watch U.S.-China trade developments

European markets will open lower on Monday, with investors keeping a close watch for developments on the U.S.-China trade front.

Britain’s FTSE 100 was seen 2 points lower at 7,338, while Germany’s DAX was seen falling 37 points to 12,430 and France’s CAC down 11 points at 5,673, according to IG index data.

Market focus was largely attuned to the latest progress in U.S.-China trade negotiations. The two countries had described their latest talks as productive and constructive, but stocks on Wall Street fell Friday after Beijing officials canceled a visit to U.S. farms in Montana, cutting their trip to the country short.

Washington and Beijing have slapped tariffs on billions of dollars’ worth of each other’s goods since the start of an intense trade dispute which began last year.

Back in Europe, Britain’s opposition Labour Party kicked off its annual party conference over the weekend.

According to Reuters, the party is expected to decide between two Brexit policies on Monday to campaign to remain in the EU in a second referendum or defer a decision on what position to take until after an election. The U.K. is slated to leave the EU on Oct. 31.

On the corporate front, British tour operator Thomas Cook collapsed early Monday morning, leaving hundreds of vacationers stranded. CEO Peter Fankhauser apologized to the group’s customers and staff, adding it was “a matter of profound regret” the firm was unable to secure a rescue package from its lenders.

In oil markets, crude prices rose sharply on Monday as Middle East tensions remained elevated following attacks on two Saudi production facilities earlier this month, which the U.S. has blamed on Iran. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Sunday said Washington wanted to avoid war but was deploying additional troops to the Gulf region for deterrence and defence.

Brent crude soared over 0.8 percent to $64.82 a barrel while U.S. WTI crude was up almost 1 percent at $58.65.

As for data, traders will no doubt look out for PMI (purchasing managers’ index) figures out of France and Germany, which are due to be released Monday morning.

Source: CNBC