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European Close Lower as Investors Await ECB Meeting; Meggitt Down 12%

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  • The pan-European Stoxx 600 provisionally ended the session down by about 0.5%, with chemicals firms falling 1.1% to lead the losses as most sectors and major bourses dipped into negative territory.
  • Germany's ZEW survey of economic sentiment for September showed investor morale falling to 26.5 points from 40.4 in August, short of a Reuters forecast of 30.0.
  • Meggitt shares plunged over 12% after U.S. defense firm TransDigm ruled itself out of a potential $8 billion takeover bid for the British rival.

LONDON — European stocks closed lower on Tuesday as traders took a cautious position ahead of the European Central Bank meeting on Thursday.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 provisionally ended the session down by about 0.5%, with chemicals firms falling 1.1% to lead the losses as most sectors and major bourses dipped into negative territory.

The ECB meeting comes amid a recent spike in euro zone inflation and an uptick in economic indicators, leading some market watchers to anticipate a more hawkish tone from the central bank on Thursday.

The lackluster sentiment in Europe broke away slightly from more positive trade in Asia-Pacific. Shares in the region were mostly higher on Tuesday, as data showed China's August trade data came in above expectations.

China's exports jumped 25.6% year-over-year in August, customs data showed Tuesday — above expectations for a 17.1% rise by analysts in a Reuters poll.

On Wall Street, stocks were mostly lower amid lingering concerns about the delta Covid variant's impact on the economic reopening.

The August U.S. jobs report came in short of expectations Friday, with nonfarm payrolls increasing by 235,000 versus an expected 720,000 jobs.

The disappointing August jobs report will likely influence the Fed's timeline for tapering its asset-purchase program.

On the data front in Europe, Germany's ZEW survey of economic sentiment for September showed investor morale falling to 26.5 points from 40.4 in August, short of a Reuters forecast of 30.0.

In terms of individual share price movement, U.K. retailer Marks and Spencer climbed 3.3% toward the top of the Stoxx 600 after UBS upgraded the stock and raised its price target.

At the bottom of the index, Meggitt shares plunged more than 12.1% after U.S. defense firm TransDigm ruled itself out of a potential $8 billion takeover bid for the British rival, ending speculation of a bidding war with Parker-Hannifin.

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- CNBC's Ryan Browne, Tanaya Macheel and Eustance Huang contributed reporting.

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