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European Shares Likely To See Subdued Start

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European stocks may drift lower on Thursday as optimism surrounding U.S.-China trade talks waned and a partial U.S. government shutdown over funding for a border wall entered the 20th day.

Trade talks reportedly ended on a positive note, but it remains to be seen if China had offered enough concessions on structural issues to overcome U.S. skepticism.

China's ministry of commerce said that the negotiations were "extensive, deep and meticulous".

Asian stocks are trading mixed, with Japan's Nikkei index falling over 1 percent on the back of a firmer yen while major markets elsewhere were little changed.

Both Brent crude and West Texas Intermediate crude futures slipped in Asian trade after surging nearly 5 percent on Wednesday amid easing concerns about energy demand and on data showing a drop in U.S. crude inventories.

On the data front, consumer prices in China were up just 1.9 percent year-on year in December, the National Bureau of Statistics said. That was shy of expectations for an increase of 2.1 percent year on year and down from 2.2 percent in November.

The bureau also said that producer prices were up an annual 0.9 percent - well shy of forecasts for 1.6 percent and down sharply from 2.7 percent in the previous month.

In the U.S., remarks by Powell at the Economic Club of Washington are likely to attract attention today along with a report on weekly jobless claims.

Overnight, U.S. stocks fluctuated before ending higher for the fourth consecutive session as the minutes from the latest Fed meeting revealed a dovish approach to rate hikes this year and investors remained hopeful that the U.S. and China will reach a long-term trade agreement before a March 1st deadline.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.4 percent, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite gained 0.9 percent and the S&P 500 added 0.4 percent.

European markets finished higher on Wednesday, led by automakers and technology companies.

The pan-European Stoxx Europe 600 index gained half a percent. The German DAX and France's CAC 40 index climbed around 0.8 percent, while the U.K.'s FTSE 100 advanced 0.7 percent.

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