Article written by Paul Paris

European stock markets finished slightly lower on Monday, as traders indulged in potential trade tensions between the U.S. and China as well as another round of earnings reports.

The Stoxx Europe 600 index slipped 0.1%, after fluctuating in and out of positive territory. The small loss on Monday followed a rally, when tech shares tracked their U.S. counterparts higher after a well-received earnings report from Apple Inc. France’s CAC 40 index fell less than 0.1 on Monday, while Germany’s DAX 30 index lost 0.1%. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 index rose slightly by 0.1%.

U.S. stocks rose on Monday, with the Nasdaq rising for a fifth consecutive day as investors shifted focus on healthy corporate earnings, which have so far helped to improve the market over recent sessions. Technology and consumer discretionary stocks led the gains, paving the way for the market’s higher move.

$16 billion in potential fines to automakers with regards to EU Emission breaches

Automakers failing to cut gas emissions risk paying large fines to the European Union.

Manufacturers ranging from Renault SA to Mercedes-Benz maker Daimler AG are in line for total fines in excess of €14 billion, should they fail to comply with stricter emission regulation phased in from 2020 and in full force the following year.

Only a significant change in demand for electric vehicles would completely remove the forecasted excessive emissions. Earlier, analysts at Exane BNP Paribas singled out French automakers PSA Group and Renault SA as most the most likely to be exposed to any payments, with breaches causing such a hit to automaker’s profits that failing the new rules was out of the question.

Carmakers have known for years about the upcoming change in EU policy, yet many are struggling to decrease the average fleet emissions of climate-changing carbon dioxide. In 2017, CO2 fleet emissions rose for the first time in years after buyers abandoned diesel powered cars, relatively fuel-efficient, in favor of gasoline powered vehicles in the wake of Volkswagen AG’s emissions scandal.

Daimler to produce Smart brand electric cars in China

The parent company of Mercedes-Benz is negotiating to build electric versions of its tiny Smart branded cars in China with a local partner.

Daimler is in talks to start a joint venture with Chinese manufacturer BAIC Group subsidiary Beijing Electric Vehicle, or BJEV. This follows the trend that foreign companies wishing to do business in China typically must set up partnerships with Chinese companies.

This is a clear sign that Daimler is continuing to improve upon its electric vehicle efforts, and take further advantage of the increasingly popular market for electric cars in China.

Smart cars have proven to be tough to sell in many markets — in particular the United States. However, Daimler has been under the impression that the cars will most likely appeal to consumers looking for efficient and nimble vehicles which are well-suited to crowded environments, such as dense cities which are typically found in China.