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European shares retreat, London nervous ahead of GDP data

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By Reuters
European shares retreat, London nervous ahead of GDP data
FILE PHOTO: A trader works at his desk whilst screens show market data at CMC Markets in London, Britain, January 16, 2019. REUTERS/John Sibley   -   Copyright  JOHN SIBLEY(Reuters)

(Reuters) – European shares slipped on Monday as fresh round of protests in Hong Kong, worrying data from China and Moody’s warning on Britain’s sovereign debt made for a gloomy start to the week.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index <.STOXX> fell 0.2% by 0817 GMT, with London’s FTSE 100 <.FTSE> leading declines among the major regional indices with a 0.6% fall.

Ratings firm Moody’s warned on Friday it might cut its rating on Britain’s sovereign debt again, saying that neither of the main political parties in next month’s election was likely to tackle high borrowing levels which Brexit had made even harder to fix.

Investors awaited a batch of UK data including third-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) as well as industrial output numbers for September.

Trade-sensitive German shares <.GDAXI> slid 0.3% after data from China’s biggest auto industry association showed auto sales fell 4% in October from a year earlier.

Europe’s auto index <.SXAP> fell 0.5%.

Top gainer on the STOXX 600 was British baker and takeaway food group Greggs <GRG.L>, which jumped 10.6% after forecasting a 2019 pretax profit ahead of previous expectations.

(Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)