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European Shares Likely To Open Gap-down


European stocks look set to open sharply lower on Thursday as renewed worries about trade tensions and slowing global growth sent investors fleeing from risky assets.

Benchmark indexes in Australia, China, Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea are down 3-5 percent.

The dollar is weakening after U.S. stocks saw their worst fall in nearly eight months overnight and U.S. President Donald Trump once again criticized the Federal Reserve, calling the central bank "crazy" for continuing to raise interest rates.

Gold extended gains on safe-haven demand while the Japanese yen hit its highest level this month after warnings from the IMF over global growth and financial stability.

The British pound strengthened after EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier said a deal on the U.K. withdrawal from the European Union could be reached as soon as next week.

Crude oil futures for November delivery fell 1.5 percent in Asian trade, adding to a 2.4 percent slide overnight as escalating tensions between the U.S. and China raised concerns that global oil demand will decline in the near term.

Brent crude was down 1.6 percent at $81.78 a barrel after closing 2.2 percent lower on Wednesday amid easing supply worries as Hurricane Michael likely spared oil assets from significant damage.

In economic releases, French inflation data and the Bank of England's Credit Conditions Survey for the third quarter are due later in the session.

Across the Atlantic, reports on consumer price inflation and weekly jobless claims may influence trading sentiment.

The IMF and World Bank will hold their annual meetings in Bali from Friday, where finance ministers and central bankers from 189 countries will gather.

On the earnings front, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Inc., and Wells Fargo & Co. are expected to post strong financial results when they kick off the earnings season for U.S. banks on Friday.

U.S. stocks tumbled the most in eight months on Wednesday and safe-haven assets such as Treasuries and the yen rose as investors fretted about the impact of the U.S.-China trade war and rising interest rates.

The S&P 500 lost 3.3 percent and the Dow retreated 3.2 percent to log their biggest single-day losses since Feb. 8, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq slumped 4.1 percent to post its steepest loss since June 24, 2016.

European markets also ended Wednesday's session sharply lower as investors kept a close eye on developments around Brexit and Italy's budget.

The pan-European Stoxx Europe 600 index dropped 1.6 percent. The German DAX gave up 2.2 percent, France's CAC 40 index declined 2.1 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 shed 1.3 percent.

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