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European Shares Ease On Trade Concerns

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European stocks edged lower on Monday, with weak exports data from China and lingering U.S.-China trade worries keeping investors nervous.

Also, caution prevailed ahead of key developments this week, including the Federal Reserve's latest interest rate decision, new ECB boss Christine Lagarde's first policy meeting and the U.K. general election.

The pan European Stoxx 600 slipped 0.25 percent to 406.40 after rallying 1.2 percent on Friday.

The German DAX, France's CAC 40 index and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 all were down between 0.2 percent and 0.3 percent.

In an interview with France 3 television, French Finance Minister Le Maire said that France was ready to challenge U.S. President Trump's tariffs threat at the World Trade Organization (WTO).

"We are ready to take this to an international court, notably the WTO, because the national tax on digital companies touches U.S. companies in the same way as EU or French companies or Chinese. It is not discriminatory."

Swiss drug maker Roche edged down half a percent after announcing changes in the Board of Directors and the Corporate Executive Committee of the company.

United Internet recouped early losses after the German internet services company said it has decided to make a share buyback offer to its shareholders for a total of up to 9 million shares at a price of 29.65 euros per share.

Britain's biggest retailer Tesco jumped nearly 5 percent on news it is considering the sale of its stores in Thailand and Malaysia.

Tullow Oil shares slumped as much as 60 percent. The oil and gas explorer downgraded its production guidance for 2020, suspended its dividend and announced that chief executive Paul McDade and exploration director Angus McCoss had both stood down.

Pharma services company hVIVO soared 7.5 percent after announcing it has reached an agreement on the terms of a recommended offer to be made by Open Orphan Plc for the entire share capital of hVIVO.

Air France KLM gained 0.7 percent after reporting an increase in group traffic for November.

In economic releases, Germany's exports expanded unexpectedly, while imports remained flat in October, figures from Destatis revealed.

Exports grew 1.2 percent on a monthly basis in October, confounding expectations for a decline of 0.3 percent.

France's economic growth is expected to slow slightly in the fourth quarter, the Bank of France reiterated today.

The bank retained its GDP growth estimate for the final three months of 2019 at 0.2 percent, which is slower than the 0.3 percent expansion in the third quarter.

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