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European Shares Seen Up After Sino-US Deal

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European stocks may open a tad higher on Thursday after the United States and China signed the first phase of a trade deal, helping defuse an 18-month row that has hit global growth.

The deal calls for China to purchase $200 billion worth of U.S. goods over the next two years, including up to $50 billion worth of agricultural products.

The deal also purportedly addresses issues such as intellectual property theft, forced technology transfers and currency manipulation by China.

In exchange, the U.S. will scrap a new round of tariffs and cut tariffs on approximately $120 billion worth of Chinese goods in half to 7.5 percent.

Trump noted a 25 percent tariff on $250 billion worth of Chinese imports will remain in place in order to give the U.S. leverage as the two countries enter into phase two negotiations.

Asian stocks remain mostly higher, though overall gains remained limited as the trade deal failed to address structural economic issues that led to the trade conflict between the world's two largest economies.

A cautious undertone prevails after the U.S. House of Representatives moved one step closer to the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump over abuse of power by pressuring Ukraine to probe former Vice President Joe Biden and obstructing Congress' efforts to investigate.

Gold prices held steady and the dollar softened while oil edged up on expectations for an uptick in oil demand next year.

In economic releases, U.K. housing market sentiment strengthened in December following the result of general election, the Residential Market Survey from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors showed.

The headline new buyer enquiries indicator rose notably to +17 percent from -5 percent in November. Likewise, the balance for agreed sales advanced to +9 percent from -6 percent - turning positive for the first time since May 2019.

Across the Atlantic, the minutes of the European Central Bank's governing council meeting is due later in the session, headlining a light day for the European economic news.

Across the Atlantic, trading may be impacted by reaction to reports on
retail sales, weekly jobless claims, import and export prices and homebuilder confidence.

U.S. stocks ended off their day's highs on Wednesday as Target Corp reported disappointing holiday sales and President Trump signed an initial trade deal with China.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.3 percent and the S&P 500 gained 0.2 percent to hit fresh record closing highs, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite index finished marginally higher.

European markets struggled for direction on Wednesday as investors awaited the signing of a long-expected China-U.S. trade deal.

The pan European Stoxx 600 ended little changed. The German DAX slid 0.2 percent and France's CAC 40 index edged down 0.1 percent, while the U.K.'s FTSE 100 rose 0.3 percent.

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