(RTTNews.com) - European stocks fell on Monday, with lingering trade tensions and concerns over a partial U.S. government shutdown keeping investors nervous ahead of the Christmas break.
The partial U.S. government shutdown is expected to continue into January, when the new Congress convenes and Democrats take over the House of Representatives.
Meanwhile, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin moved to quell firestorm over repeated attacks on the Federal Reserve, saying President Donald Trump is opposed to the Fed's rate hike campaign, but has never suggested firing Board Chairman Jerome Powell.
After calling the bank CEOs on Sunday in an apparent attempt to check on system liquidity, Mnuchin will chair a meeting of the President's Working Group on Financial Markets later today.
The pan-European Stoxx Europe 600 index was down 0.45 percent at 335.15 in opening deals after the Dow Jones Industrial Average suffered its worst week since the 2008 crisis on Friday.
France's CAC 40 index was down 0.9 percent and the U.K.'sFTSE 100 was losing half a percent.
Trading volumes remained thin, with markets in Germany and Italy shut on Christmas Eve.
Banks paced the decliners, with BNP Paribas, Credit Agricole, Societe Generale, Lloyds Bank, Barclays, HSBC Holdings and Royal Bank of Scotland losing 1-2 percent.
British advertising firm WPP tumbled 2.5 percent and French luxury goods conglomerate LVMH dropped 1.9 percent.
Globally, Asian stock markets ended mixed in thin holiday trade, while U.S. stock futures pointed to a slightly higher open after steep losses last week.
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