European stocks traded slightly lower during afternoon trade Tuesday, after it was confirmed Chinese Vice Premier Liu He would attend trade talks in Washington.
The pan-European STOXX Europe 600 traded down around 0.5% in afternoon trade, while the FTSE 100 fell a further 1% to reach a one-month low. Utilities emerged as the top performing sector, up around 1.8%, while bank stocks showed the most substantial slide, dropping around 1.8% with Barclays, HSBC and Standard Chartered all down more than 2%.
Shares of BMW fell by around 2% after the German carmaker reported a 78% drop in first-quarter profits, hit by legal provisions and expenses.
In corporate news, Belgian drinks maker AB InBev reported its first-quarter earnings Tuesday morning, along with Irish tax-registered pharmaceutical company Allergan. Shares of AB Inbev traded around 1.5% lower during the afternoon session.
On the data front, German industrial figures showed orders rose less than expected in March after two months of sharp decline, bringing little relief for Europe’s largest economy.
More broadly, markets are pausing for breath following some heavy selling Monday. U.S. President Donald Trump vowed to ramp up tariffs on China, casting doubt on trade talks between the two sides. However, China’s Commerce Ministry said on Tuesday that Vice Premier Liu He will still visit the United States on May 9 and May 10, according to Reuters.
Meanwhile, the European Commission is set to release its latest economic forecasts later today. Analysts expect some concerns raised around Italy’s deficit.