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European markets close lower amid fresh trade concerns; Thomas Cook issues second profit warning

Key Points
  • Tit-for-tat trade war talk between China and the U.S. is back on the agenda, ahead of a G-20 summit.
  • Travel and leisure stocks were lower on the back of a profit warning by Thomas Cook.

European stocks dropped on Tuesday afternoon, as investors monitored a number of political events including Brexit and Italian budget plans, and digested further comments from President Donald Trump.

European Markets: FTSE, GDAXI, FCHI, IBEX

The pan-European Stoxx 600 provisionally closed 0.2 percent lower with the various sectors taking different directions. Autos and Basic Resources were the worst-performing sectors, on the back of ongoing trade concerns.

Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, President Donald Trump said that it was "highly unlikely " that the United States would delay a rise in tariff levels on $200 billion of Chinese goods, to 25 percent. He went onto suggest that a 10 percent tariff on laptops and iPhones imported from China could be inflicted.

As a result, shares in Apple suppliers were under pressure.

Furthermore, Travel and Leisure stocks fell almost 1 percent on the back of a profit warning by Thomas Cook. The airline suspended dividend payouts and issues its second profit warning in two months. Shares were close to a six-year low according to Reuters. Shares in rival Tui also dropped sharply.

Different European banks were also below the flatline, after various rating downgrades by Morgan Stanley. Metro Bank dropped 1.2 percent; BBVA fell 3.2 percent.

Elsewhere, talk surrounding the U.K.'s departure from the European Union continues to rumble on. Over the weekend, leaders from the EU endorsed the Brexit withdrawal deal laid out by U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May, however, there are still hurdles ahead for May to overcome. The British leader now faces opposition from politicians in her home country, with Parliament expected to vote on the deal in two weeks on December 11.

Meanwhile, Italy's government is seen as upholding its leading 2019 budget goals for now, as it awaits cost analysis on spending measures, according to Reuters. This comes after the news agency reported that the deficit target could be lowered, citing two government sources.