European markets slightly lower despite trade optimism; Travel and leisure stocks down 2.4%

European markets traded slightly lower on Tuesday morning, despite optimism over progress in the U.S.-China trade dispute.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 slipped 0.1% below the flatline in early trade, with travel and leisure stocks dropping 2.5% as most sectors and major bourses edged into negative territory.

Trade negotiators from Washington and Beijing held another phone call Tuesday morning, where the two sides discussed “resolving core issues,” according to the Chinese Ministry of Commerce. The call was between Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, the ministry said in a statement.

Shares in Asia got a boost from the news, while investors also monitored Alibaba’s strong Hong Kong debut. The MSCI Asia ex-Japan index traded about 0.2% higher.

Back in Europe, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party saw its lead over the opposition Labour Party narrow to 7 points in the last week, according to an opinion poll by ICM for Reuters. The country is heading for a general election that’s due to take place on Dec. 12.

Sterling slid 0.2% against the dollar following the news, trading at $1.2872 early on Tuesday.

In corporate news, U.K. food delivery firm Just Eat urged its shareholders to reject a $6.3 billion takeover offer from Prosus, saying a separate proposal from was a better fit for the firm.

In terms of individual stocks, Vifor Pharma shares added 3.8% after reporting positive data for a new drug study, while car parts maker Faurecia climbed 3.2% after projecting record profits in 2022.

Compass Group saw its stock fall 7% after reporting full-year results in which it warned on performance in Europe.

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