November 28, 2019 / 8:19 AM / 10 days ago

REFILE-European shares retreat as Hong Kong bill spurs trade tensions again

(Corrects typo in headline)

Nov 28 (Reuters) - European shares pulled back from near-record highs on Thursday, as U.S. President Donald Trump signed into law a bill backing protesters in Hong Kong, sparking doubts about the resolution to a prolonged tariff war between Washington and Beijing.

The law, which warns of sanctions against human rights violations in Asia’s financial hub amid pro-democracy protests, drew a sharp rebuke from China for what it views as U.S. interference in an internal matter.

The diplomatic standoff threatens to derail negotiations on a trade truce between the world’s top two economies. Investors had turned optimistic that at least a partial trade deal would be signed by the end of the year.

Shares of trade-sensitive auto parts makers and tech firms led declines on the pan-European STOXX 600 index. The benchmark index was down 0.3% by 0806 GMT.

In a bright spot, Virgin Money UK Plc jumped 7.3% to the top of the STOXX 600 as traders reacted positively to provisions for the PPI misselling scandal which were within its previous expectations.

Focus now shifts to a raft of economic indicators, including euro zone consumer confidence data and preliminary November inflation figures from Germany, due later in the day. (Reporting by Sagarika Jaisinghani in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V)

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