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European stocks ended subdued Thursday after weaker-than-expected U.S. economic data gave investors cause to anticipate that the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates at its upcoming July meeting.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 ended Thursday's trade marginally higher with, telecoms leading gains with a 0.8% climb while utilities stocks fell 0.9% at the close.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average and Nasdaq Composite both closed Wednesday's session at all-time highs after U.S. private payrolls data fell significantly short of expectations, strengthening the Fed's case for lowering rates at its monetary policy meeting at the end of July. Markets stateside are closed Thursday for the July 4 holiday and trading volumes in Europe are expected to be low.
Asia-Pacific stocks traded mixed on Thursday, with major indexes in Japan, South Korea and Australia advancing while mainland Chinese and Hong Kong markets slipped.
In trade war news, White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow told reporters on Wednesday that face-to-face trade talks between the U.S. and China will continue in the coming week.
Meanwhile, tensions between Washington and Tehran continued to escalate with President Donald Trump telling Iran via Twitter that threats can "come back to bite you " after Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced that Iran would increase its uranium enrichment.
Back in Europe, Italy averted European Union disciplinary action over its public finances Wednesday after convincing the European Commission that measures submitted this week would help bring its growing debt into line with EU fiscal rules.
In corporate news, Walmart-owned British supermarket chain Asda signaled that a possible stock market listing could take place in two to three years.
Reuters reported that Deutsche Bank is preparing a sweeping 5 billion euros ($5.6 billion) overhaul in the coming days that will see the ax fall heavily on its investment banking business. Deutsche shares traded 0.4% higher during the afternoon session.
In terms of individual stock performance, shares of Italian banks Unicredit and Ubi Banca climbed 4.3% following Italy's EU respite, while Norwegian fish farm company SalMar topped the Stoxx 600 with a 5.6% rise after a promising second quarter trading update.
At the other end of the European blue chip index, Coca-Cola HBC stock tumbled 6.8% as shares traded ex-dividend, on track for their worst day in nearly five months.