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European Stocks Edge Lower On Trade Concerns

European markets continue to exhibit weakness after a negative start Friday, with traders choosing to exit counters amid fresh worries about U.S.-China trade issues and Brexit uncertainty.

Also, traders appear a bit keen on taking some profits after recent gains.

U.S.-China trade tensions have escalated this week following the U.S. government's decision to declare a national emergency to protect US networks from foreign espionage threats against US technology and the move to blacklist Chinese technology major Huawei, blocking it from buying American technology.

Reacting to U.S. move on Huawei, China's People's Daily newspaper came out with a front page write-up that said the trade war would never bring the country down.

Earlier this week, markets were cheering U.S. decision to delay imposing tariffs on car imports from European Union. Trader worries faded a bit and stocks moved up north, with investors focusing on earnings and other corporate news.

The pan European Stoxx 600 is declining 0.81%. Among the major markets in Europe, Germany and France are notably lower, with their benchmarks DAX and CAC 40 falling 1.01% and 0.62%, respectively. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 is down 0.4% and Switzerland's SMI is lower by 0.48%.

Shares of tour operator Thomas Cook plunged 30% this morning to record their lowest level since mid 2012 after analysts downgraded the stock post the company's profit warning.

Hikma Pharma, Babcock International, Glencore, Standard Chartered, Informa and ITV are declining 2 to 3%.

Provident Financial is rising nearly 4%. Prudential and BP are gaining 2.2% and 2.1%, respectively.

EasyJet is up 3.4% after the company said it would meet its target this year despite a likely fall in revenue per seat due to tough trading environment in the second half.

In France, ArcelorMittal is down 3.7%. Valeo, Michelin, Carrefour, Societe Generale, BNP Paribas, Saint Gobain and Renault are also down sharply.

In Germany, BMW and Thyssenkrupp shares are down more than 6%. Fresenius, Vonovia, Deutsche Bank, BASF, Daimler and Volkswagen are down 1.5 to 3.2%.

A report from European Automobile Manufacturers' Association on Friday showed new car sales dropped for an eighth consecutive month, declining by 0.4% in the EU in the month of April, compared to a year ago. In March, car sales were down 3.9%.

While demand for cars increased in Italy, France and Spain, sales were down in the U.K. and Germany.

Data released by Eurostat showed Eurozone's core inflation, which excludes prices of energy, food, alcohol and tobacco, accelerated in April at a faster than estimated pace to its highest level in two years.

Core inflation climbed to 1.3% in April, higher than the initial estimate of 1.2%. In March, the figure was 0.8%.

The consumer price index rose 1.7% year-on-year following a 1.4% increase in March, in line with its flash estimate. Headline Inflation was the highest since November, when prices rose 1.9%.

Another report from the statistical office said Eurozone construction output declined a calendar and seasonally adjusted 0.3% month-on-month in March, after a 3% rise in February. Output fell 1% in January.

Building construction declined 0.6%, while the growth in civil engineering eased to 0.4%.

On a yearly basis, construction production rose a calendar adjusted 6.3% year-on-year in March, following a 7.6% increase in the previous month, the report said.

Meanwhile, on the Brexit front, talks between Labour and the government aimed at breaking the Brexit impasse ended without an agreement today. Primer Minister Theresa May blamed the Labour Party's pro second referendum faction for failure of talks.

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