Europe open: Stock markets slightly lower amid losses in technology space
Stockmarkets across the Continent have started the morning slightly lower as investors bide their time ahead of the elections to the European Parliament next weekend.
Against that backdrop, the market spotlight on Monday was on the technology sector, amid news that the likes of Google and Infineon had moved to stop supplying Chinese telecommunications equipment maker Huawei with their wares.
However, at the weekend Reuters reported that the US administration might recalibrate some of its measures against Huawei, so that it could continue servicing its existing clients in the US.
"The broadening of the trade war to the technological sector makes it extremely difficult to gauge the implications for economic activity going forward. By now, we have become familiar with the estimates provided by a number of institutions (IMF, OECD etc.) that, under simplified assumptions, tried to model the economic impact of a trade war," said Marco Valli, Head of Macro Reserch at UniCredit Group.
"But what could happen if we add tech protectionism and the risk of escalation there? I suppose very few people would have a reasonably clear idea."
As of 0829 BST, the benchmark Stoxx 600 was slipping 0.21% to 380.70, alongside a dip of 0.24% to 12,209.37 for the German Dax.
Milan's FTSE Mibtel on the other hand was dropping by a hefty 1.72% to 20,741.04, as multiple heavyweights, including Generali, Eni and Fiat began trading without the right to their latest dividend.
Technology was one of the weakest segments of the market, with the corresponding Stoxx 600 sector gauge falling 1.06%.
Elsewhere on the political front, on Saturday, Austrian nationalist vice-chancellor, Heinz-Christian Strache, stepped down after being caught on video offering political favours to journalists posing as heirs to a Russian oligarch.
Further afield, Ukraine's newly-appointed President, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, called snap parliamentary elections for October.
According to Germany's Ministry of Finance, factory gate prices in the euro area's largest economy edged past forecasts in April, rising at a year-on-year pace of 2.5% (consensus: 2.4%), led by a 6.6% jump in energy prices.
For later in the day, investors were waiting for a reading on Belgian consumer confidence in May.
No major economic reports were scheduled for release later in the day Stateside, although Philly Fed President, Patrick Harker, was due to deliver a speech at 100 BST.
On the company front, stock in Ryanair was trading 4% lower after Europe's largest airline posted a fourth consecutive drop in annual profits and said it had "zero" visibility for the second half of the financial year just started.
Thomas Cook was coming under selling pressure again alongside steep losses on debt issued by the travel operator after Sky News reported that one of its payment intermediaries wants to extend the period for which it retains holidaymakers' payments for trips.