European stock markets head for lower open on final trading day of 2020

On Thursday European stock markets are expected to open lower, the final trading day of the year. London’s FTSE is expected to open 42 points lower at 6,510, Germany’s DAX down 30 points at 13,671, France’s CAC 15 points lower at 5,578 and Italy’s FTSE MIB down 28 points at 22,082, according to IG.

European will end 2020 on a somber note, following lackluster end-of-year trade in Asia and with U.S. stock futures largely flat early Thursday morning. All markets in Europe will close early, by 1 p.m. London time. Shares in Asia-Pacific were mixed on Thursday, as multiple markets in the region also closed early for New Year’s Eve.

Chinese shares rose in afternoon trade, however, after China said its factory activity expanded in December. In addition, it was announced Wednesday that China and the EU had agreed to an investment deal that will give firms in Europe more access to Chinese markets. Negotiations had stalled earlier this year prior to the U.S. presidential election in November.

Meanwhile, European markets could react on Thursday to a new swipe against Europe from the U.S. On Wednesday, U.S. trade officials said they were increasing tariffs on certain EU products, including aircraft-related parts and wines from France and Germany, Reuters reported.

The move is the latest action in a 16-year dispute over civil aviation subsidies involving Europe-based Airbus and its U.S.-based competitor Boeing. Thursday marks the last day of the post-Brexit transition period for the U.K. and the EU. From January 1, new trading arrangements begin between the two sides after a post-Brexit trade deal was ratified by the U.K. Parliament on Wednesday.