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European stocks slightly lower ahead of Davos

The pan-European Stoxx 600 slipped 0.2% lower, with household goods falling 0.8% to lead losses while oil and gas stocks climbed 0.3%, after two production bases in Libya began shutting down amid a military blockade.

Climate change and sustainable business will be a key focus for delegates at this year’s WEF summit, but other political risks such as international trade and geopolitical instability are also likely to be on the agenda.

Elsewhere, the People’s Bank of China kept its loan prime rate unchanged on Monday, sending Asian shares higher. The decision came after President Donald Trump and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He signed a long-awaited “phase one” trade deal on Wednesday, easing tensions between the world’s two largest economies.

Stocks on Wall Street reached record highs last week, rising on Friday on the back of positive economic data from both the U.S. and China. U.S. markets will be closed on Monday for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Back in Europe, finance ministers from EU member states will gather in Brussels on Monday for the monthly Eurogroup meeting.

Meanwhile, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson hosted a summit for 21 African leaders in London on Monday, in a bid to boost the U.K.’s trade ties with the continent ahead of the country’s departure from the European Union.

Stocks on the move

Qiagen shares gained 4.3% after a report that the firm was in talks about a possible takeover, while French biotech company Biomerieux saw its shares climb 4.6% to lead the Stoxx 600.

At the other end of the European benchmark, NMC Health‘s London-listed shared dropped 4% while Swiss travel retailer Dufry slid 4.4%.

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