Trump says US, China close to a trade deal

Trump says US, China close to a trade deal

European markets traded slightly higher on Wednesday, as investors track positive mood music around U.S.-China trade talks.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 added just over 0.1% in early trade, basic resources leading the way with 0.8% gains while travel and leisure stocks slid 0.4% lower. The European blue chip index notched a four-year high at the start of the session.

President Donald Trump on Tuesday said that Washington and Beijing were in the “final throes” of talks aimed at securing a trade deal, though the U.S. leader also expressed his administration’s support for protesters in Hong Kong, a particularly thorny issue for China at the moment.

Stocks stateside closed at record highs following Trump’s comments. In Asia, markets climbed on the back of optimism around trade, with the MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan up 0.2%.

Back in Europe, market participants kept a close watch on the latest political developments out of the U.K., as the country heads for a fresh set of elections on Dec. 12.

Britain’s two main political parties have become embroiled in a debate over religious prejudice. The opposition Labour party was accused by the chief rabbi of failing to tackle anti-Semitism seriously, while a Muslim group said the ruling Conservative party has an Islamophobia problem.

In corporate news, Reuters reports that Lufthansa is in final talks to complete the sale of its European catering operations to Swiss firm Gategroup.

As for data, fresh figures showed that Chinese industrial profits dropped for a third consecutive month in October. In Europe, French consumer confidence data is due later Wednesday morning.

In terms of individual stocks, both Interpump Group and Wartsila shares climbed more than 3% in early trade to lead the Stoxx 600, while Knorr Bremse stock slid 3.8% after the German brake system manufacturer reported disappointing results before the bell.

Altran shares edged 0.3% higher after activist hedge fund Elliott said Capgemini’s 3.6 billion euro ($3.96 billion) offer for the French engineering group was too low.

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