European Shares Seen Opening Mixed After Hawkish Fed Minutes

European stocks are poised to open mixed on Thursday amid renewed concerns about U.S.-China trade and expectations of a faster pace of interest rate hikes from the Federal Reserve.

Brexit uncertainty may also keep investors nervous after EU leaders called off an extraordinary summit on the Brexit in November because of lack of progress.

Asian markets slipped, with China’s Shanghai Composite index falling nearly 2 percent, after the Trump administration moved to withdraw from an international treaty on postal rates in a move aimed at pressuring Beijing.

The U.S. Treasury Department has decided not to label China a currency manipulator, but Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that China’s lack of transparency over its currency and recent weakness in the yuan are of “particular concern” for the United States and “pose major challenges to achieving fairer and more balanced trade.”

Gold held steady and the dollar held on to its gains while crude oil futures for November delivery extended losses after falling 3 percent on Wednesday on EIA data showing a larger than expected rise in crude stockpiles last week.

In economic releases, retail sales figures from the U.K. and U.S. reports on weekly jobless claims, Philadelphia-area manufacturing activity and leading economic indicators are due later in the session.

Overnight, U.S. stocks fell modestly after the release of lackluster housing data and mixed earnings reports.

Investors also digested minutes from the Federal Reserve’s September meeting indicating that the U.S. central bank is staying the course on rate hikes, despite Trump calling it the “biggest threat” to his presidency.

The Dow dropped 0.4 percent, while the S&P 500 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite finished marginally lower.

European markets closed lower on Wednesday as auto sales slumped in September and a no-deal Brexit loomed.

The pan-European Stoxx Europe 600 index shed 0.4 percent. The German DAX and France’s CAC 40 index both fell by half a percent while the U.K.’s FTSE 100 slid 0.1 percent.

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