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European markets close lower; HSBC shares slide 4%

Key Points
  • The pan-European Stoxx 600 was down 0.2 percent at the closing bell, with most major bourses in negative territory.
  • Europe's banking index led the losses, down 0.9 percent amid earnings news.
  • Market focus is largely attuned to trade developments between the world's two largest economies, with a new round of negotiations expected in Washington on Tuesday.

European stocks closed lower on Tuesday as market participants anxiously waited for details from the latest round of U.S.-China trade talks.

European Markets: FTSE, GDAXI, FCHI, IBEX

The pan-European Stoxx 600 was down 0.2 percent at the closing bell, with most major bourses in negative territory.

Europe's banking index led the losses, down almost 0.9 percent amid earnings news. HSBC was the worst sectoral performer, after reporting disappointing annual profit figures on Tuesday. Europe's largest bank also warned an economic slowdown in China, as well as Brexit uncertainty, would most likely throw up further hurdles in 2019. Shares of the London-listed stock were 4 percent lower at the end of the session.

Elsewhere in the sector, Danske Bank announced it would exit Russia and the neighboring Baltic states, after the Danish lender was ordered by Estonia on Tuesday to close its branch at the center of one of the largest-ever money laundering scandals. Shares of the bank fell by 0.4 percent.

Looking at individual stocks, Denmark's William Demant slumped to the bottom of the European benchmark. It comes after the hearing aid maker said organic sales growth this year would be weaker than market expectations. Shares of the company tumbled more than 9 percent on the back of the news.

Meanwhile, Germany's HeidelbergCement surged toward the top of index amid earnings news. The group shrugged off concerns about trade wars and a potentially disorderly Brexit to forecast higher demand for cement this year. Shares of the firm rose by 3.5 percent.

Elsewhere, Japan's Honda confirmed the closure of its Swindon car plant on Tuesday, risking the loss of 3,500 jobs. The carmaker said the decision came as part of a broad restructuring plan and was not related to Brexit.

Stateside, stocks opened in positive territory on Tuesday, with all major indexes edging slightly higher. Walmart reported strong earnings on Tuesday after better-than-expected holiday sales, sending the retailer's shares more than 3.5 percent higher.

Trade war

Market focus is largely attuned to trade developments between the world's two largest economies, with a new round of negotiations expected in Washington on Tuesday.

A follow-up session of higher-level talks is expected later in the week, as both sides look to resolve their protracted dispute before a March 1 deadline.

Last week, President Donald Trump suggested he might extend the deadline for a deal, which would stop an immediate increase in tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports to 25 percent from 10 percent.