European markets close higher, ending a volatile week for global equity stocks

European markets closed sharply higher Friday, as investors tentatively returned to riskier assets after a turbulent week.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 index closed provisionally up almost 1.3 percent, with all sectors and major bourses in positive territory.

A technical glitch prevented Britain’s FTSE 100 from opening for almost two hours on Friday morning. It was the index’s longest outage in eight years. The bourse closed about 0.7 percent higher.

The U.K.’s blue-chip index had hit a six-month low in the previous session, as an escalating trade war between the United States and China and growing concerns about the world economy saw global stocks in sell-off mode.

Europe’s bank and utility stocks led the gains, with both sectors surging about 2.4 percent and 1.7 percent respectively.

Looking at individual stocks, Switzerland’s Sunrise Communications was one European company in focus Friday. Germany’s Freenet said it would vote against a proposed capital increase by the Zurich-based firm to fund a takeover bid for UPC. Shares of Sunrise rose about 3.5 percent.

Meanwhile, the Netherlands’ Imcd tumbled to the bottom of the index after reporting first-half earnings on Friday. Shares slumped almost 15 percent as the firm’s CEO warned of uncertain and volatile market conditions.

Recession fears

On Wall Street, stocks resumed a partial rebound from a massive sell-off earlier in the week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose over 270 points, while the Nasdaq and S&P 500 indexes were also positive.

Trading, which had already been dampened by a slowing economy and ongoing Sino-U.S. trade tensions, became more volatile in recent days after the U.S. 2-year/10-year Treasury yield curve inverted — a market move that is widely considered to be a signal of a looming recession.

Speaking to CNBC in Asia, Ray Dalio, founder of the world’s largest hedge fund, said that there’s a 40 percent chance that the U.S. will experience a recession before the 2020 election.

Investors will also be watching for developments in the U.S.-China trade war. U.S. President Donald Trump said Thursday that trade negotiators were holding “productive” talks, adding that he expected a meeting to be held in September, Reuters reported.

However, Beijing said on Thursday that it would retaliate to the latest round of U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods.

Source: CNBC