European stocks to open slightly higher on hopes of Sino-US talks

European stocks are set to open slightly higher on the final day of 2018 as major stocks across the world look to record calendar year declines.

The FTSE is set to open 20 points higher at 6,753, the CAC is up 28 points at 4,706, and Germany’s DAX is set to open 87 points higher at 10,535, according to IG.

Market focus is largely attuned to the progress on the U.S.-China trade standoff after hints emerged when President Donald Trump said he had a “very good call” with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Saturday to discuss trade.

He also claimed that “big progress” was being made on this front. His statements have brought optimism to stocks worldwide that have been under pressure this year.

Following the tweet, however, the Wall Street Journal reported that Trump “may be overstating how close the two sides are to an agreement,” citing sources “familiar with the state of negotiations.”

Trump’s comments came after both he and Xi earlier this month agreed to a 90-day pause in tariff escalation.

However, market sentiment remained on edge after survey data out of China on Monday suggested that China’s manufacturing activity in December contracted even more than expected.

Back in Europe, the deadlock around Brexit continues to concern investors. On Sunday, U.K. Trade Minister Liam Fox said there is a “50-50” chance that Brexit may be stopped if Parliament rejects the government’s divorce deal with the European Union next month.

The U.K. Parliament is set to vote on the Brexit deal in the week starting January 14.

Source: CNBC

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