European stocks close higher on US-China trade hopes, oil in focus

European stocks moved higher on Tuesday, helped by a reversal in stocks stateside.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 ended provisionally 0.74 percent higher in trade, with most major bourses and sectors in positive territory.

Telecoms were the best performing stocks during Tuesday, with Vodafone being the top gainer following the release of its results.

The firm posted a loss of 7.8 billion euros ($8.76 billion) in the first six months of the year, but shares rose after Chief Executive Nick Read promised to reduce operating costs by 1.2 billion euros by 2021 and to review tower assets in order to drive higher returns.

In other corporate news affecting the sector, Telecom Italia CEO Amos Genish has reportedly been stripped of his executive powers following an enduring tussle between two of its major shareholders, Vivendi and Elliott Management. Per Reuters, Genish’s executive powers have been transferred to TIM’s Chairman Fulvio Conti on a provisional basis.

In individual stocks, health care firm BTG soared to the top of the pan-European benchmark after reporting an increase in its first-half pretax profit and an upgrade in earnings guidance. The firm’s share price rose more 9.9 percent.

Stocks stateside were initially hit by a plunge in Apple shares. One of Apple’s suppliers– Lumentum Holdings- said that one of its largest customers had asked to reduce shipments for its products. Two other Apple suppliers issued warnings that suggested weakness in iPhone sales. This sparked fears across the tech sector and dented sentiment also in Asian trading.

However by the end of Tuesday morning trade in the United States, Apple had reversed course to rise 1 percent.

The Wall Street Journal reported Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He had resumed trade talks. The report comes ahead of a meeting between President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Investors are keeping a close eye on oil prices, after new comments from President Donald Trump. He said that the group of oil producers OPEC should not cut supply to prop up the market. Oil prices fell about 1 percent on Tuesday.

In Europe, Brexit and Italy continue to be the main issues for investors.

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May said on Monday that negotiations are hitting the “endgame” but there are still considerable differences to fix.

And Rome has until the end of Tuesday to submit a new budget plan for 2019 to the European Commission, after the latter said the original plan was not in line with previous commitments.

In the meantime, Italy’s Banca Carige has said that the country’s biggest banks and private investors will step in to boost its capital position by up to 400 million euros ($451 million) to meet a year-end deadline by the European Central Bank.

Source: CNBC

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