Stocks are holding lower, with traders cautious ahead of an increasingly likely military strike against Syria over coming days, amid multiple other concerns.
Also possibly weighing on risk appetite was news out on Monday that some EU states were pushing for further sanctions on Iran, alongside headlines that the White House has affirmed its authority to fire special counsel Robert Mueller if necessary.

It was against that backdrop that traders were also keeping an eye out for any fresh movements out of Beijing or Washington on the global trade front and rumours that US House of Representatives's majority speaker Paul Ryan would not run for re-election in the 2018 midterms.

Thus, as of 1400 BST, the benchmark Stoxx 600 was dipping 0.49% or 1.88 points to 376.54, alongside a drop of 0.84% or 103.34 points to 12,294.25 for the German Dax and a decline of 0.57% or 30.19 points to 5,277.11 on the Cac-40.

In parallel, euro/dollar was edging higher by 0.20% to 1.2378.

Further afield on the other hand, the Russian rouble was shedding another 2.7% to trade at 64.705 per US dollar and the yield on the benchmark 10-year Russian government bond was climbing eight basis points to 7.67%.

Commenting on the market action, Michael Hewson at CMC markets UK said: “The strange thing is that for all the warm words [from China's Xi Jinping], and President Trump's positive response to them, is that what President Xi actually said wasn't much different to previous speeches he has made in the past, which means that eventually these words will need to be turned into actions.

“The easiest one to deliver is probably the reduction in tariffs on cars, but even that is likely to be difficult, particularly since further talks between the various parties aren't actually planned at the moment.”

Economic data out in the euro area on Wednesday was uninspiring, with ISTAT reporting that retail sales in the Mediterranean country fell by 0.5% month-on-month (consensus: 0.3%).

Further north, in France, the country's central bank reported that its industrial confidence gauge slipped from a reading of 105.0 for February to 103.0 for March (consensus: 105.0).


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