European stocks edge higher as investors eye second round of Brexit talks

European bourses inched higher on early Monday trade, as investors reacted to robust economic growth data in China and monitored the second round of formal Brexit talks in Brussels.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 moved up 0.23 percent in early morning deals with almost all sectors and major bourses in positive territory.

Basic resources stocks – with their heavy exposure to China – were the best performing in early morning trade on Monday, up almost 1 percent. China reported stronger-than-expected economic growth data on Monday as the world’s second-largest economy was supported by robust industrial output, retail sales and exports. The Chinese economy grew 6.9 percent (year-on-year) in the second quarter to keep pace with the first quarter of 2017, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

Back in Europe, engineering firm Weir Group soared to the top of the benchmark after the company said it expected its oil and gas unit’s full-year revenues to surpass analyst’s forecasts. Shares rose over 6.7 percent on the news.

British broadcaster ITV announced Carolyn McCall is set to become its new chief executive on Monday morning. McCall, who had worked as easyJet’s CEO for seven years, is due to assume her new role with the U.K.’s biggest free-to-air commercial broadcaster on January 8, 2018. ITV’s shares were almost 2 percent higher, while easyJet’s shares slipped 0.8 percent.

Sweden’s Getinge dropped to the bottom of the benchmark on Monday after it announced notice of an extraordinary general meeting to its investors. Shares dipped over 6 percent.

Brexit talks resume

U.K. Brexit Secretary David Davis has resumed talks with the EU’s Michel Barnier in Brussels on Monday. Negotiators are expected to break into groups to discuss four key areas before a scheduled news conference on Thursday.

Meanwhile, in the U.S. on Friday, data showed consumer prices were unchanged in June and retail sales slipped for the second consecutive month. The data is likely to dampen expectations of robust economic growth in the second quarter. The chances of an interest rate hike from the Federal Reserve in December fell to around 43 percent on Friday, according to the CME’s Fedwatch tool.

Source: CNBC