November 5, 2018 / 10:22 AM / 7 days ago

European markets choppy but little changed after Asian nerves show

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* Trade war, U.S. rates worry investors

* STOXX 600 flat

* Markets shrug off banking stress tests

* Goldman Sachs note weighs on Italian lenders

By Julien Ponthus

LONDON, Nov 5 (Reuters) - European shares were little changed in choppy trade on Monday, as a four-day rally ran out of steam after investor nervousness over fast-rising U.S. interest rates and Washington’s trade dispute with Beijing hit Asian markets.

The pan-European STOXX 600 was flat by 0936 GMT, with most country indexes also hovering around neutral.

Tuesday’s U.S. mid-term elections also kept traders cautious, as did uncertainty over whether renewed hopes of a breakthrough in Brexit negotiations were misplaced.

Results from the European banking stress tests had little impact, with the sector down 0.3 percent.

“The results provide no surprises and we expect little market reaction”, Jefferies analysts wrote.

Britain’s Barclays and France’s Societe Generale were among unexpected laggards in the health check but their shares were flat about an hour into trading.

The Italian banking index lost 1.7 percent, however, after Goldman Sachs downgraded BPER and Intesa Sanpaolo to “sell”. Their shares were down 3.3 percent and 1.9 percent, respectively.

Lloyd’s of London underwriter Hiscox posted the worst performance, falling 7.4 percent after warning that growth could moderate over the rest of the year.

Telenet lost 4.3 percent after a rating downgrade from Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Among positive trading updates was Dutch oil and gas storage firm Vopak, up 5 percent, and Siemens Healthineers, which rose 3 percent after forecasting higher earnings for next year.

French payments group Ingenico <INGC.PA!>, which has attracted bid interest from banking company Natixis, jumped 3.6 percent after it named a new chief executive on Monday, on hopes that a new board could strike a deal.

Britain’s Micro Focus was up 3.3 percent after it said it expected full-year revenue to come in towards the higher end of a weak outlook and announced the departure of its finance director for ITV after less than 12 months. (Reporting by Julien Ponthus Editing by Alexander Smith and John Stonestreet)

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