European stocks close lower on trade pessimism in Beijing; BME up 38% on SIX bid

European stocks closed lower on Monday after a Chinese government source told CNBC that the mood in Beijing over a trade deal is pessimistic.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 ended the session 0.1 percent lower, with the China-exposed autos sector tumbling 2.3 percent while utilities bucked the trend to add almost 1 percent.

Sentiment turned cautious after CNBC’s Eunice Yoon reported that a Chinese government source had said Beijing was troubled by U.S. President’s Donald Trump’s reluctance to roll back tariffs, and may now wait to progress with a deal due to ongoing impeachment hearings and next year’s U.S. election.

Across the Atlantic, stocks on Wall Street were flat, paring earlier losses. The Nasdaq led losses, trading below the flatline during morning deals.

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He had a phone call Saturday morning with U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer regarding a “phase-one” trade deal, Chinese state media outlet Xinhua reported.

The two sides had “constructive discussions” about “each other’s core concerns” and agreed to remain in close contact. The call came at the request of Mnuchin and Lighthizer, according to Xinhua. White House Economic Advisor Larry Kudlow said Friday that Washington and Beijing were close to a deal.

In the U.K., political leaders on Monday pitched their election manifestos to business leaders gathered at the Confederation of British Industry conference in London. Prime Minister Boris Johnson again pledged to end Brexit uncertainty that has blighted the country’s business environment since the EU referendum in June 2016.

Stocks on the move

Bolsas Y Mercado Espanoles (BME) shares soared 38% after Swiss stock exchange operator SIX Group announced an all-cash offer of 34 euros per share for the the Madrid bourse. The offer came shortly after pan-European stock market operator Euronext said it was in talks with BME, launching a bidding war.

Qiagen shares jumped 8.5 percent after the company confirmed that it is exploring a sale following indications of interest.

Aviva shares slid 4.8 percent to the bottom of the European blue chip index after the British insurer said it would retain its operations in China and Singapore amid an ongoing review of its Asian businesses.

Volkswagen stock fell 4.4 percent after cutting its medium-term outlook for operating profit and sales.

Source: CNBC