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European Shares Trim Losses as Investors Await Speech from President Trump

President Trump will speak to the nation about 14:00 GMT. He is expected to address the attack on the Iraqi air force base that housed U.S. military personnel.
James Hyerczyk
European Shares

European stocks are lower on Wednesday after Iran fired missiles on Iraqi airbases housing U.S. troops, but we’re not seeing the same triple-digit losses we saw earlier in the day in Asia and the U.S. pre-market futures session. All sectors except oil and gas were trading in negative territory with banking stocks declining 1% to lead losses.

At 09:41 GMT, the UK’s FTSE 100 Index is at 7539.84, down 34.01 or -0.45%. Germany’s DAX Index is at 13144.85, down 81.98 or -0.62% and France’s CAC is trading 5986.92, down 25.43 or -0.42%.

Escalation of US-Iran Tensions

Tensions between the United States and Iran escalated late Tuesday when Tehran retaliated to Washington’s airstrike that killed its top military commander last Friday.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohamad Javad Zarif said via Twitter that “we do not seek escalation or war, but will defend ourselves against any aggression.”

Following a steep plunge in Asia and the U.S., the major stock indexes bottomed and began trimming losses after President Donald Trump tweeted, “All is well!”

European markets were closed when the attacks started, and opened when the Asian markets were already rebounding from the earlier steep losses.

British Prime Minister Meets with EU Chief

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is meeting with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen Wednesday, where he is due to tell her that the U.K. will not extend its transition out of the EUR beyond December 2020.

NMC Health Plunges 19%

Shares of London-listed NMC Health plunged more than 19% in early trades after two investors sold their stakes in the company. The Abu-Dhabi-based hospital chain has been embroiled in a protracted dispute with activist short-seller Muddy Waters over its accounting practices.

European Economic Data

Contributing to the loss in Germany was a report that the country’s industrial orders fell unexpectedly in November on weak foreign demand and a lack of major contracts.

Europe’s largest economy has been struggling with slowing factory activity over the past due to global trade and political ructions.

US at the Forefront

President Trump will speak to the nation about 14:00 GMT. He is expected to address the attack on the Iraqi air force base that housed U.S. military personnel.

At 13:15 GMT, traders will get the opportunity to respond to the ADP Non-Farm Employment Change. It is expected to show the private sector of the economy added 160K jobs in December.

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