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European markets mixed amid US-China trade developments

European markets opened mixed on Tuesday as investors await updates on a potential U.S.-China trade deal and monitor economic developments.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 hovered fractionally below the flatline in early trade, with basic resources stocks jumping out to 1% gains while utilities fell 0.9% to lead losses.

Asian shares rose during Tuesday’s session, following record closes for stocks on Wall Street on Monday. Japanese shares led regional gains, with the Nikkei adding 1.8% during afternoon deals.

Chinese leader Xi Jinping, delivering an address at the China International Import Expo on Tuesday, called for international tensions to be resolved through discussion, urging the removal of global trade barriers.

While he did not specifically mention the U.S., his remarks came after Reuters reported that China was pushing Washington to remove more tariffs as part of a “phase one” trade agreement between the world’s two largest economies.

Surveys on Tuesday showed that China’s services sector slipped to an eight-month low in October, while business confidence fell to a 15-month low, according to Reuters.

Back in Europe, new data published by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) on Tuesday showed that consumer spending in the U.K. saw its strongest year-over-year increase in October for six months. However, the organization warned that sales growth over a 12-month period fell to a new low of 0.1%.

The BRC’s chief executive told Reuters that Brexit and new uncertainties arising from the U.K.’s looming general election were creating a difficult environment for retailers.

On Monday, PMI data from IHS Markit showed that the euro zone’s manufacturing sector continued to contract during October.

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