European shares hit their lowest level since December 2016 in early trading today as trade wars, rising US yields, Brexit and the Italy/EU budget row continue to weigh on markets.

In London the FTSE closed 0.48% higher at 7,029, while most of the major euro zone markets were little changed.

In Paris the CAC fell 0.02% to 5,095, and in Frankfurt the DAX rose 0.73% to 11,588.

In Dublin the ISEQ ended up 0.25% at 6,113. CRH and Applegreen were among the best performing shares, while Kingspan and FBd both lost value.

Meanwhile, in the US stocks have fallen amid an increase in tensions between Western powers and Saudi Arabia.

Shortly before 5.50pm the Dow Jones had fallen 0.11% to 25,313, while the Nasdaq had dropped 0.92% to 7,428.

Earlier in Asian trade, Tokyo's Nikkei index closed 423 points (1.8%) lower at 22,271 with the shares of carmakers hitting 13-month lows after the US said it would seek a provision about currency manipulation in future trade deals with Japan.

The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong lost 356 points (1.4%) to finish at 25,445.