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European markets close lower as Covid protests in China continue; oil stocks drop

This is CNBC's live blog covering European markets.

European markets closed lower on Monday as investors monitored unrest in China as protests against strict Covid measures and lockdowns erupted over the weekend.

European markets


The pan-European Stoxx 600 was down 0.7% by the market close, with oil and gas stocks shedding 1.4% to lead losses as most sectors and major bourses closed in the red.

The unrest came as infections surged, prompting more local Covid controls, while a central government policy change earlier this month had raised hopes of a gradual easing. Nearly three years of controls have dragged down the economy. Youth unemployment has neared 20%.

In Asia, Hong Kong stocks led losses amid the unrest in China. Oil futures hovered around new 2022 lows as demand concerns over the world's second-largest consumer of oil weighed on prices.

— CNBC's Evelyn Cheng and Abigail Ng contributed to this market report.

European retailers gloomy despite Black Friday

Black Friday shoppers snapped up smartphones, Christmas decorations, sweaters and jewelry, but retailers are still feeling gloomy about the festive season, according to Reuters. 

European retailers fear this Christmas trading season could be the worst in at least 10 years as shoppers feel the financial pinch of high inflation and skyrocketing energy bills.

"The Christmas business is marked by the energy crisis. Retailers are feeling the uncertainty of consumers,"  HDE retailers' association General Manager Stefan Genth said in a statement, with inner-city retailers still feeling the impact of Covid.

— Hannah Ward-Glenton

China's tech sector is likely to be 'very strong' in 2023, economist says

China's tech sector is likely to be 'very strong' in 2023, economist says
VIDEO3:1803:18
China's tech sector is likely to be 'very strong' in 2023, economist says

Daniel Lacalle, chief economist at Tressis Gestión, says investors should be diligent in considering which sectors in China to invest in, and adds that "it's not going to be a year of looking at an index" or of "being passive."

UK property demand down 44% in wake of mini-budget

Demand for U.K. residential properties has nearly halved following September's government budget that rocked financial markets, research published by property website Zoopla showed.

Buyer demand fell 44% year-on-year in the four weeks to Nov. 20, while new property sales declined 28%. 

Zoopla said it expected house price falls of up to 5% in 2023 and that the U.K. was seeing a "rapid slowdown from very strong market conditions."

Read more.

— Jenni Reid

Barclays CEO to undergo cancer treatment

British bank Barclays announced on Monday that CEO C.S. Venkatakrishnan will be undergoing treatment for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and will work from home for some periods.

Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is a form of cancer that affects the lymphatic system, but the National Health Service says most cases are "considered very treatable."

Read the full story here.

- Elliot Smith

Stocks on the move: Brenntag down 9%, Telecom Italia down 4%

Brenntag shares fell more than 9% in early trade after the German chemicals distributor confirmed that it had held preliminary takeover talks with U.S. rival Univar Solutions.

Telecom Italia shares were down 4.2% in early deals ahead of a potential decision on a takeover bid from Italian state lender CDP.

- Elliot Smith

Oil prices slip as China's Covid protests continue

Crude oil futures slipped early in Asia as high Covid cases, virus restrictions and unrest in China raise fears about demand from the world's second-largest oil consumer.

West Texas Intermediate futures shed 0.35% to $76.01 per barrel, while Brent crude futures lost 0.26% to $83.41 per barrel.

Oil prices saw sharp falls last week as "mounting lockdowns in China raised concerns over demand," ANZ Research's Brian Martin and Daniel Hynes wrote in a Monday note.

"This remains a headwind for oil demand," they said, adding that the impact of rising Covid cases was reflected in China's mobility data as well.

— Abigail Ng

CNBC Pro: Asset manager picks three global retailers to short amid a fall in consumer spending

Shares in mass market retailers will fall as profit margins are squeezed, and consumers curtail spending next year, according to Plurimi Wealth's chief investment officer.

Patrick Armstrong told CNBC's Pro Talks that he was betting against a Japanese retailer, multinational clothing company, and a Canadian e-commerce platform by selling their shares short.

Armstrong believes consumers will hold back spending next year amid rising interest rates and household bills.

CNBC Pro subscribers can read more here.

— Ganesh Rao

There is a 30% probability that China reopens earlier than expected: Goldman Sachs

There's a 30% probability that China reopens earlier, says Goldman Sachs
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30% probability that China reopens earlier, says Goldman Sachs

China is most likely to reopen around April next year after the National People's Congress takes place, but there's a chance that authorities reopen earlier due to difficulties in keeping Covid cases under control, according to Goldman Sachs.

Chief China Economist Hui Shan said there's a 60% chance of the former scenario taking place.

"There is also a 30% probability of earlier reopening precisely because of the difficulty in keeping Covid under control, and the lack of medical preparation suggests it could be quite a messy process," she said.

"Medical preparation is not ready yet, whereas the virus has evolved in such a way [that] it's getting very costly to continue to implement that dynamic zero-Covid policy," she said.

She said that policymakers need to weigh out the costs and benefits of the stringent Covid restrictions as protests take place across the country.

"This is not something they had experienced before [or] had a lot of experience in dealing with in prior cycles," she said.

— Su-Lin Tan

CNBC Pro: Buy this Big Tech stock which is at an 'attractive' entry point now, says portfolio manager

One Big Tech stock is at an "attractive" price point to buy right now, according to Foord Asset Management's Brian Arcese.

Arcese, a portfolio manager at the firm, expects growth in the "mid-teens" despite cyclical headwinds in its industry.

CNBC Pro subscribers can read more here.

— Weizhen Tan

European markets: Here are the opening calls

European markets are heading for a higher open Wednesday as investors focus on the U.S. Federal Reserve's latest monetary policy announcement today.

The U.K.'s FTSE 100 index is expected to open 10 points higher at 7,781, Germany's DAX 30 points higher at 15,154, France's CAC up 10 points at 7,096 and Italy's FTSE MIB up 75 points at 26,721, according to data from IG.

Earnings come from Vodafone, GSK and Novartis. The main data release in Europe Wednesday is flash inflation figures from the euro zone for January.

— Holly Ellyatt