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Europe: Stock markets drop at open

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[LONDON] European stock markets fell at the start of trading Friday as geopolitical concerns dominated sentiment after the US launched missile strikes on Syria - and ahead of key US jobs data.

London's benchmark FTSE 100 index dipped 0.1 per cent to 7,293.36 points compared with the close on Thursday.

In the eurozone, Frankfurt's DAX 30 slid 0.5 per cent to 12,174.51 points and the Paris CAC 40 dropped 0.3 per cent to 5,104.73.

While stocks were down, "demand for safe havens has nonetheless pushed bonds, precious metals and both the yen and Swiss franc higher", said Accendo Markets analyst Mike van Dulken.

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"Middle Eastern instability fears has also sent both oil benchmarks to one-month highs," he added.

Analysts are looking ahead also to Friday's official US Labour Department jobs report, which is expected to show that the world's biggest economy added 215,000 jobs in March and that unemployment held steady at 4.7 per cent.

US stocks recovered Thursday from a sell-off the previous day spurred by Federal Reserve meeting minutes suggesting a more aggressive monetary tightening policy than the market had anticipated.

Investors were eyeing also a meeting between US President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.

AFP

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