European stocks traded higher on Thursday amid hopes that the U.S. and China will be able to resolve their protracted trade battle.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 rose 0.4% in early trade, technology stocks leading the way with a 1% gain while banks fell 0.4% as the majority of sectors and major bourses entered positive territory.
Traders are monitoring the latest global trade developments after President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that a deal to end the standoff between the two countries could happen sooner than expected.
The world’s two largest economies have slapped import duties on billions of dollars’ worth of each other’s goods in a tariff war that began early last year.
Fears of heightened political uncertainty remain however, amid an impeachment inquiry launched by House Democrats into the U.S. leader. The White House on Wednesday released a rough transcript of Trump’s call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, which sparked the impeachment bid.
In Asia, stocks were mostly higher on the back of trade optimism. MSCI’s broadest index of Asian shares excluding Japan rose over 0.1%.
Back in Europe, Brexit continued to weigh on investors’ minds, after U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson stuck by his view that the country’s Supreme Court was wrong to rule his suspension of Parliament unlawful.
Britain’s leader also challenged the opposition Labour Party to oust him in a vote of no confidence and trigger an early election. Sterling was up around 0.2% versus the dollar, trading at $1.2377.
In terms of data, U.K. automotive manufacturing figures for August showed that domestic car production rose for the first time in 15 months. Investors will also watch out for German consumer sentiment and U.S. second-quarter GDP (gross domestic product) numbers later in the day.
Stocks on the move
Belgian retailer Colruyt saw its stock rise 5.8% in early deals to top the Stoxx 600 after upgrading its full-year net income guidance.
British education publisher and assessment provider Pearson plummeted 15.9% to the bottom of the European blue chip index after issuing a profit warning on weak U.S. trading.
ABN Amro tumbled 9.6% after Dutch prosecutors launched an investigation into alleged money laundering failures, while tobacco company Imperial Brands also fell 9.8% following a profit warning.