European stocks set to open lower amid trade tensions, new sanctions

European futures pointed to a lower open Friday morning, as fears of a trade war and new sanctions against Russia continued to weigh on sentiment.

The U.K.’s FTSE 100 was seen lower by 9 points at 7,735, the German DAX shed 11 points to 12,654, France’s CAC was down by 11 points at 5,488, and the Italian FTSE MIB dipped 69 points to 21,525, according to IG data.

Equities traded lower across Asia — bar Chinese stocks — following a mixed session on Wall Street. Traders have remained on edge after China matched the most recent round of U.S. tariffs with 25 percent levies of its own, targeting $16 billion worth of American goods. Meanwhile, Japanese gross domestic product (GDP) figures showed better-than-expected growth in the second quarter, aided by strong household and business spending.

On the sanctions front, the Trump administration said it will punish Russia with sanctions for poisoning an ex-spy living in Britain with a chemical weapon, the State Department said Wednesday. The sanctions are expected to go into effect around August 22.

The rouble slumped to its weakest since August 2016, at 66.73 versus the dollar after the sanctions were announced. The currency lost 5 percent of its value compared with levels of late last week.

In the latest Brexit news, a majority of the British public supports a second referendum on the U.K.’s withdrawal from the European Union, according to a YouGov survey released Friday. Meanwhile, U.K. employers’ group the Confederation of British Industry said on Friday that it backs an immigration system that is “open and controlled,” adding that the U.K. should ditch controversial net migration targets.

On the corporate front, budget carrier Ryanair is facing flight cancellations across Europe as pilots walk out on strike in Ireland, Germany, Belgium, Sweden and the Netherlands. In earnings news, Novozymes and Innogy are set to report second-quarter results.

In terms of data, the International Energy Agency’s monthly oil market report is due at 4 a.m. Friday, and the U.K. is releasing GDP, trade balance and construction output data at 4:30 a.m. ET.

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