European markets close higher ahead of Trump press conference

European stocks closed higher on Wednesday as investors digested comments from President-elect Donald Trump’s first press conference.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 ended 0.23 percent higher on Wednesday with most major bourses recovering from a negative start to the session. The FTSE 100 reached yet another record high after the release of industrial data, which showed a rebound in November. However, the number of imports outweighed exports, Reuters reported.

Telecoms was among the best-performing sectors on Wednesday after some analyst upgrades. The auto sector also moved higher, rising more than 1.3 percent. The German carmaker Volkswagen has reached a $4.3 billion draft settlement deal with U.S. authorities over the emission scandal. Its shares were up by 3.39 percent.

Utilities closed slightly higher after the French government has opened the sale of a 4.1 percent stake in the utility firm Engie, Reuters reported. It’s stock ended down by more than 2.98 percent.

Meanwhile, in the U.S., the Dow Jones industrial average was mixed as investor hopes faded that the blue-chips index could hit the 20,000 mark on Wednesday.

The main focus for Wednesday would be any concrete policy moves from Trump who began speaking at a press conference shortly after 11 a.m ET. He is expected to outline the future of his own business dealings.

Healthcare stocks in Europe ended 0.71 percent lower after Donald Trump indicated in his opening comments that he would firmly clamp down on the pharmaceuticals industry.

Cobham, the British engineering group, was at the bottom of European benchmarks, and ended more than 14 percent lower after news that it missed its profit target in 2016 and had to scrap its final dividend.

The U.K.’s supermarket chain Sainsbury reported Wednesday a slight growth in sales in its third quarter, which included the Christmas period. The food retailer jumped more than 1 percent.

Taylor Wimpey, the U.K.’s housebuilder, said on Wednesday that it expects a full-year profitability close to the upper end of market consensus, after home completions rose by 4 percent in 2016. However, its shares were down by 2.4 percent.

Also, estate agent Foxtons said Wednesday that it expects core earnings to be less than half of a lower-than-expected £25 million in 2016, after sales dropped due to the Brexit vote and tax increases.

Mark Carney, Bank of England governor addressed U.K. lawmakers in parliament on Wednesday and stated that Britain’s financial industry could face “outsize” consequences if just some of its European Union market access is lost post-Brexit.

Elsewhere oil prices rose for the first time this trading week buoyed by news that Saudi Arabia has cut oil supply to Asia. However, gains were limited by continuing investor doubt that OPEC producers would adhere to output reductions.

Brent crude traded at around $55.01 a barrel on Wednesday shortly after the European close, up 2.54 percent, while U.S. crude was around $52.09 a barrel, up 2.5 percent.

Source: CNBC