LIVE MARKETS-A Carrefour downer at the open

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LIVE MARKETS-A Carrefour downer at the open
Credit: © Reuters.

* European shares open lower: STOXX down 0.1%

* Carrefour (PA: CARR ) down 6% as Couche-Tard drops takeover plan

* Oil stocks among leading losers, tech up

* Wall Street closed for Martin Luther King day

Jan 18 - Welcome to the home for real-time coverage of markets brought to you by Reuters reporters. You can share your thoughts with us at markets.research@thomsonreuters.com

A CARREFOUR DOWNER AT THE OPEN (0851 GMT)

It was to be expected but the French government's resounding "non" to the Canadian takeover offer for Carrefour is taking its toll on the shares of the supermarket operator this morning.

Carrefour is the worst performing stock across the pan-European STOXX 600 with a fall of over 6%.

It's fair to say that this isn't doing much for the general mood which was already fairly lacklustre.

Half an hour into trading, most regional bourses are down between 0.1% and 0.5%.

Energy stocks are not surprisingly dragging the market due to retreating oil prices.

On the bright side, a rating upgrade from Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS ) has given a boost to Infineon, up 3.4% and the rest of the tech sector which is up 0.9%.

Here's Carrefour share price going back down to where it was before Canada's Alimentation Couche-Tard's approach:

(Julien Ponthus)

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WALL OF DOUBTS (0812 GMT)

The narrative of the reflation trade lifting world markets seems to be fizzling out and much like (recently deceased) music producer Phil Spector's "Wall of Sound" that layered pop and classical instruments to create a lush overall sound, many risk-off noises are rising in the background.

China's economy roared ahead at a better-than-expected 2.3% last year and expanded in Q4 at 6.5%, while industrial output grew 7.3% in December. But if the data gave some legs to copper and aluminium prices and lifted Chinese markets, the surging virus caseload is tempering the cheer; even in China, 28 million people are under lockdown.

Nor has the data entirely dissipated the gloom from Friday's dismal U.S. retail sales figures, keeping U.S. and European equity futures in the red and the dollar just off one-month highs.

All that's taken U.S. 10-year yields US10YT=RR from 1.187% to 1.087%, while oil prices have fallen from 11-month highs hit last week.

It's a public holiday in the United States but there is no shortage of action elsewhere. In M&A news, Couche-Tard and Carrefour now plan to explore "partnership opportunities", Chrysler and PSA sealed a merger to create Stellantis, the world's fourth-largest auto maker while Dutch paintmaker Akzo Nobel bidding for Finnish rival Tikkurila.

Finally, quite a bit to chew on politically this week. Besides Joe's Biden's inauguration on Wednesday, Armin Laschet's election to lead Germany's main ruling party will be a relief to markets, given he is expected to continue Merkel's pro-European agenda.

Italy's ruling coalition faces two days of parliamentary votes that will decide whether it can cling to power. Even with the ECB standing behind Italy, government bond yields are inching higher in trepidation. Key developments that should provide more direction to markets on Monday: -Janet Yellen expected to affirm Biden doesn't want weaker dollar -White knight emerges in Suez/Veolia takeover battle -French major Total buys 20% stake in India's Adani (NS: APSE ) Green Energy -Trump administration notified Huawei suppliers, including chipmaker Intel (NASDAQ: INTC ), it is revoking certain licenses to sell to the company, Reuters reported. -Eurozone finmins meet to discuss global role of euro -Deliveroo has raised $180 million from existing investors, including Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN ), valuing the business at more than $7 billion. -British telecoms operator BT is facing a claim for almost 600 million pounds ($800 million) lodged by a consumer campaign group, -Philly Fed non-manufacturing survey

(Julien Ponthus and Sujata Rao)

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CHINA ISN'T ENOUGH (0637 GMT)

A better than expected Q4 for China's GDP lifted blue chips in Shanghai overnight but there's little chance that the optimism will travel as far as Europe.

Futures for the old continent are currently trading about 0.3% in the red and retreating oil prices show there is an overall risk-off mood at the moment.

No help will come from Wall Street today which is be closed for a holiday.

Not that the news flow is particularly good on that side of the Atlantic anyway: Friday's U.S. retail sales were disappointing, tensions run high ahead of Biden's inauguration and the pandemic is far from being under control.

(Julien Ponthus)

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(Julien Ponthus)

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