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April 15 (Reuters) - European shares were steady in early trade on Monday, as hopes that Sino-U.S. trade talks could be nearing their final stages and strong Chinese economic data eased worries over the global economy, but domestic trade tensions kept a lid on advances.
By 0729 GMT, the pan-European STOXX 600 index was flat. Milan’s main index and Madrid’s led with gains of 0.4 percent, while London’s FTSE 100 lagged with a 0.1 percent dip.
Asian shares neared nine-month highs after U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Saturday a U.S.-China trade agreement would go “way beyond” previous efforts to open China’s markets to U.S. companies, and hoped that the two sides were close to the final round of negotiations.
Adding to trade relief, Reuters reported that U.S. negotiators had tempered demands that China curb industrial subsidies as a condition for a deal after strong resistance from Beijing.
However, Germany’s trade-sensitive DAX was little changed as domestic worries over tariffs remained. The European Commission drew up a list of U.S. imports worth around 20 billion euros ($22.6 billion) that it could hit with tariffs over a transatlantic aircraft subsidy dispute, EU diplomats said on Friday.
European banks got a boost after JPMorgan handily beat quarterly profit estimates on Friday, kickstarting the U.S. corporate earnings season on a strong note.
Compass Group was among the biggest weights on London’s blue-chip index after Barclays downgraded shares of the world’s largest caterer to “equal-weight”.
Another big drag on the STOXX 600 was Finland’s Nokia after Goldman Sachs downgraded the stock to “sell”.
London-listed shares of Rio Tinto fell after the company announced plans to invest an extra $302 million to develop its Resolution copper project in the U.S. state of Arizona, as it looks to expands output to meet the lucrative market for new energy vehicles.
The mining major is due to release its production data for the March quarter later in the week.
Daimler dipped on a report that Germany’s motor vehicle authority KBA is investigating the carmaker on suspicion that 60,000 Mercedes cars were fitted with software aimed at tricking emissions tests.
Publicis gained 4.2 percent after the French advertising group said it would pay $4.4 billion to acquire Alliance Data’s Epsilon marketing unit, expanding its digital business and North American footprint.
Italian media group Mediaset and its German rival ProSiebenSat.1 Media rose on merger speculation, even after both companies denied they were in talks.
Norsk Hydro rose 3 percent as the company’s alumina refinery in Brazil, Alunorte, and Brazilian public prosecutors jointly petitioned a federal court to lift a production embargo.
Vivendi gained 1 percent after the French media conglomerate posted higher first-quarter revenue and said it was making progress on the planned sale of up to 50 percent of its UMG music arm. (Reporting by Medha Singh and Susan Mathew in Bengaluru Editing by David Holmes)