European stocks close lower as US-China deal details remain vague; Brexit in focus

Key Points
  • The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed 0.5% lower, with basic resources stocks leading losses.
  • The U.S. agreed to postpone an increase in tariffs on at least $250 billion of Chinese goods.
  • China wants to conduct another round of talks before signing phase one, a source tells CNBC.

European stocks closed lower Monday as traders tracked developments in a crucial week for Brexit, while details of the partial trade accord between the U.S. and China remained hazy.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed provisionally down around 0.5%, with basic resources stocks shedding over 2% to lead losses as almost all sectors and major bourses traded in negative territory.

The U.S. agreed to postpone an increase in tariffs from 25% to 30% on at least $250 billion of Chinese goods, which had been scheduled for Tuesday. President Donald Trump said that the first phase of a trade deal will be drawn up within the next three weeks, and will see China purchasing between $40 billion and $50 billion of U.S. agricultural products.

China wants to conduct another round of talks before signing phase one of the proposed deal, a source told CNBC's Kayla Tausche on Monday. An initial report from Bloomberg News said that China also wants the U.S. to scrap a tariff hike planned for December.

On Wall Street, equity markets were little changed, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average flat and the S&P 500 and Nasdaq indexes slightly negative.

However, customs data showed that China's import and export figures were worse than expected in September, with exports falling 3.2% on the year in U.S. dollar terms, while imports declined 8.5%.

Back in Europe, investors will be monitoring a big week for Brexit. The Queen's Speech, Britain's official state opening of Parliament, on Monday set out the U.K. government's plans under Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

The BBC reported Monday that the U.K. and the European Union are still divided on customs arrangements as they look to hammer out a deal for Britain's departure before the October 31 deadline.

Further trade tensions could be on the way after the World Trade Organization (WTO) governing body gave the U.S. the all-clear to impose tariffs on billions of dollars of EU products later this month.

In terms of individual stocks, Britain's Jupiter Fund Management fell around 6% to the bottom of the Stoxx 600 after Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Barclays both cut the investment house's target price Monday morning.

At the top of the European blue chip index, Danish health care company Demant climbed nearly 5% after announcing that it had completed the recovery of its I.T. infrastructure following a recent cyberattack.