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European Markets End Lower On Trade Worries, Brexit Uncertainty

European markets ended lower on Friday, snapping a three-session winning streak, amid an escalation in trade tensions and the collapse of Brexit talks.

The confirmation from the U.S. government about its decision to delay tariffs on European auto imports for up to six months helped limit losses in the markets.

The pan European Stoxx 600 ended down 0.36%. Germany ended notably lower, with its benchmark DAX declining 0.58%. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 and France's CAC 40 shed 0.18% and 0.07%, respectively. Switzerland's SMI edged down marginally.

Markets in Austria, Belgium, Poland, Portugal, Netherlands, Italy, Sweden, Spain and Turkey also ended on the negative side.

Automobile stocks opened lower after data showed a notable drop in car sales in the EU in April. However, most of these stocks came off lower levels after the Trump administration officially announced that its decision to delay tariffs on car imports from EU for six months.

Shares of tour operator Thomas Cook plunged 30% this morning to record their lowest level since mid 2012 after analysts downgraded the stock following the company issuing its third profit warning in less than a year. It reported a hal-year loss of 1.5 billion sterlings. Citigroup said the firm's shares were "worthless".

Hikma Pharma, Standard Chartered, Ferguson, Hammerson and SSE ended lower by 2 to 2.5%.

EasyJet shares gained more than 5% 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. For the first half, the airline reported a pre-tax loss of $348.6 million.

Provident Financial, TUI, Bunzi and Burberry Group were the other major gainers in the British market.

ArcelorMittal, down nearly 4%, was the biggest loser in France's CAC index.

Dassault Systemes, Sodexo, Total and Pernod Ricard gained 1 to 2%.

In Germany, Thyssenkrupp shares ended more than 6% down. BMW shed about 5%. Vonovia, Fresenius, Daimler, Siemens, Deutsche Bank, Infineon, BASF and SAP ended lower by 1 to 3.2%, while Adidas ended stronger by about 1.6%.

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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