NEW YORK - European stocks has fell in nervy trading before Italy's crunch referendum and Austria's elections, amid fears both could send shockwaves reverberating across markets.

Four weeks since US President-elect Donald Trump's stunning victory and five months after Britain's vote to leave the European Union, this weekend's eye-catching events are squarely in the spotlight. Italy goes to the polls Sunday for a referendum on constitutional reform, and Prime Minister Matteo Renzi is saying he will resign if his government loses, which may trigger a general election.

Austria's presidential election, also due Sunday, pits far-right hopeful Norbert Hofer against Greens-backed candidate Alexander Van der Bellen. Equities fell in London, Paris and Frankfurt. US stocks finished little changed, with the Dow retreating slightly from records, after government data showed the US economy added a solid 178,000 jobs in November.

The report showed the jobless rate fell an unusually large three-tenths to a surprising 4.6 percent, its lowest level since August 2007. The solid US jobs figures solidify the likelihood the Federal Reserve will hike interest rates later this month. "Rising political risk in Europe is seeing funds flow to the US where companies potentially stand to benefit from lower taxes and regulation under Donald Trump," CMC Markets market analyst Jasper Lawler said.

Analyst Ipek Ozkardeskaya at London Capital Group warned that "the outcome of the (Italian) referendum could have a significant impact on the short-term euro volatility." And XTB analyst David Cheetham said the expected rejection by Italian voters "could lead to PM Renzi's resignation and turbulence in the markets at the political upheaval." However, trader Markus Huber at City of London Markets told AFP that "even if the 'No' vote in Italy wins and Austria will get a far-right president, any jitters this might cause for the markets should be short lived".

He pointed out the ECB has pledged to stand behind Italy if there were liquidity problems and that an increase to US growth from the economic policies of incoming US president Donald Trump was more important.