European stocks seen slightly lower amid NAFTA negotiations

European stocks are set to open slightly lower Thursday morning, as investors continue to monitor global trade talks.

The FTSE 100 is seen 15 points lower at around 7,548; the CAC is expected to open little changed from the previous session at 5,501, while the DAX is poised to start down around 13 points at 12,548, according to IG.

Market focus is largely attuned to global trade developments, amid easing business tensions in North America and Europe.

The leaders of the U.S. and Canada expressed optimism on Wednesday that ongoing talks over the revised terms of the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) would meet a Friday deadline. This follows on from a bilateral agreement between the U.S. and Mexico at the start of the trading week.

Canada re-joined talks to modernize the 24-year-old NAFTA accord on Tuesday, with market sentiment boosted by the improving mood music surrounding the negotiations. The White House has said it wants to settle NAFTA discussions before then negotiating with China.

In Asia, stocks pared earlier gains as Chinese markets fixed firmly on risks from an escalating trade war between the world’s two largest economies. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares, excluding Japan, slipped 0.2 percent Thursday, with broad gains offset by losses in Beijing.

U.S. charges on another $200 billion of Chinese goods are scheduled to take effect later next month.

On the data front, the euro area is expected to publish a final reading of consumer confidence for August at around 10:00 a.m. London time. Investors are also likely to monitor a preliminary reading of Germany’s harmonized inflation rate for August at around 1:00 p.m.

Elsewhere, British Prime Minister Theresa May continues with her tour of Africa on Thursday, where she is expected to hold bilateral talks with her Kenyan counterpart in Nairobi.

Source: CNBC