European markets were slightly lower Friday morning, as investors reacted to conflicting signals about the ongoing Sino-U.S. trade war.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 was down around 0.3% during early morning deals, with most sectors and major bourses in negative territory.
China’s Commerce Ministry said Thursday that the world’s two largest economies had agreed to lift existing tariffs in phases. Shortly thereafter, a White House spokesperson told Fox News that she was “very optimistic” that Washington and Beijing would reach a trade deal soon.
It prompted a surge of optimism in financial markets on Thursday, but worries that the pact could fall apart has since dampened investor sentiment.
Meanwhile, data from Chinese customs on Friday showed the country’s October exports fell 0.9% year-on-year, while imports fell 6.4%, according to Reuters. The figures reportedly beat analysts’ expectations.
Looking at individual stocks, Richemont tumbled toward the bottom of the European benchmark. The Swiss watchmaker reported weaker-than-expected earnings for the first half of the year, as political protests in Hong Kong weighed on sales growth. Shares of the firm slipped more than 5% on the news.
Beazley surged to the top of the index during early morning deals. The company, which provides casualty and property, cyber and political risk insurance reported its main measure of insurance profitability was set to register losses in 2019. Nonetheless, shares rose almost 4%.