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FTSE and European Markets lower

The prospect of a pre-Christmas general election, an expected rate cut from the Federal Reserve and stalling of the Sino-US trade talks cast a cloud over European trading this morning, pushing the FTSE, the DAX and EuroStoxx lower.

One bright spot was the car sector with Fiat Chrysler and Peugeot making their merger talks public. Shares in clothes retailer Next took a 3% hit after the company said that it will keep its annual guidance unchanged despite stronger October sales.

Dollar slides ahead of Fed, GDP data

The dollar is on the back foot against the euro and the yen as the Fed prepares to go into the second day of its rate setting meeting. The markets are treating a 25 basis points rate cut this afternoon as a done deal but what will be of interest is to see if the Fed’s Jay Powell will confirm, as investors expect, that the central bank will pause its rate cutting for the moment.

A UK pre-Christmas election now seems to be almost certain, awaiting one final vote in the Lords. The only thing that is certain now is that the UK is not leaving the EU before the end of the year, and all other options are up for grabs. Sterling has firmed a touch against the dollar, trading at $1.2877, and is flat against the euro.

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