European shares finish on an upbeat note as autos, miners climb

European stock markets closed Friday’s session on a positive note, as a strong performance by markets overseas lifted sentiment.

The pan-European STOXX 600 ended up 0.35 percent; however, on the week, it soared 1.09 percent.

On the bourses front, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 rose 0.31 percent, the French CAC 40 jumped 0.46 percent and the German DAX closed up 0.57 percent. Almost all of the region’s sectors finished in the black, with the exception of utilities, retail and media.

Europe’s automakers and miners were the top performing sectors on Friday, with both industries rising some 1 percent or more each. Sentiment was boosted for both groups on signs that trade tensions could be easing. Overnight gains seen in Asia and a solid performance on Wall Street also provided a boost to European stocks.

Looking at individual stocks, Britain’s Investec surged to the top of the European benchmark, closing up 8.35 percent, following news the company had announced plans to hive off and separately list its asset management unit. The strategic overhaul comes ahead of the departure of the firm’s founder and boss next month.

Sticking with top performers, Shire rose over 2 percent after Takeda Pharmaceutical announced that it had received clearance in China for its proposed acquisition of the London-listed biotech firm.

At the other end, Ahold Delhaize, the Dutch operator of grocery chains in the United States and Europe, slumped to the bottom of the index, finishing down 4.4 percent, after UBS slashed its stock recommendation to “sell” from “neutral.”

Danske Bank closed in the red, after the Wall Street Journal reported, citing documents and a person familiar with the matter, that law enforcement agencies in the States were investigating the lender over allegations of money laundering flows from Russia and former Soviet states.

Meantime, JD Wetherspoon fell 1.3 percent after publishing its latest financial figures Friday. In the report, the group said it had a reasonable start to the current financial year, but added that it expects higher costs this year.

Trade talks

Market focus is largely attuned to global trade developments, amid expectations the U.S. and China could soon launch a fresh round of trade talks. The news of another potential meeting between Washington and Beijing comes amid an escalating trade war between the world’s two largest economies.

Chinese officials recently welcomed a U.S. invitation for talks, however President Donald Trump did tweet Thursday that the U.S. was “under no pressure to make a deal with China.” The Trump administration is preparing to impose charges on a final list of $200 billion worth in Chinese imports, with many market participants fearful that such a move could negatively impact global growth.

Back in Europe, Turkey’s central bank moved to support a tumbling lira on Thursday, lifting interest rates by 625 basis points to 24 percent. Currency crises in Turkey and Argentina have stoked fears of contagion in recent weeks, exacerbating broader negative sentiment in emerging markets.

Source: CNBC

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