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European Shares Set For Muted Start


European stocks look set to open on a flat note Thursday as investors eye developments in the U.S.-China trade war, the release of minutes of the Federal Reserve's June meeting later in the day and the monthly U.S. jobs report due Friday.

Asian stock markets are trading mostly lower as caution crept in ahead of the July 6 deadline, when U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods are due to take effect.

Regional losses remained limited, however, after China said that it "absolutely will not fire the first shot" in its trade dispute with the United States.

The United States Trade Representative (USTR) released two lists of imported Chinese products to retaliate against China's unfair trade practices.

The first set of 818 products are subject to 25 percent retaliatory duties worth more than $32 billion, while the second list covers 284 products covering $16 billion.

China has indicated it will promptly strike back with tariffs on an equal amount of U.S. goods.

The dollar edged up and gold held steady while oil prices moved lower after U.S. President Donald Trump sent a tweet urging OPEC to reduce prices for crude.

Both Brent crude and U.S. crude futures are down about half a percent after Trump on Wednesday accused OPEC of manipulating fuel prices.

In economic releases, factory orders data from Germany is due later in the session, headlining a light day for the European economic news.

European markets ended largely unchanged on Wednesday as trade jitters continued to simmer and a public holiday in the U.S. discouraged traders from taking long positions.

The pan-European Stoxx Europe 600 index and France's CAC 40 index closed marginally higher, while the German DAX and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 dropped around 0.3 percent each.

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