European markets close higher as China's Xi soothes trade war concerns; LVMH surges 5%

  • The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed up 0.8 percent, with all major bourses and sectors bar utilities in positive territory.
  • Basic resources stocks — with their heavy exposure to China — rallied in afternoon trade to close up nearly 2.7 percent after China's President Xi Jinping sought to soothe investor concerns about the prospect of a full-scale trade war between China and the U.S.
  • Shares in French luxury conglomerate LVMH closed nearly 5 percent higher after hitting fresh highs earlier in the session.

European markets closed higher Tuesday afternoon after Chinese President Xi Jinping sought to soothe investor concerns about the prospect a full-scale trade war between the world's two biggest economies.

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The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed up 0.8 percent, with all major bourses and sectors bar utilities in positive territory.

With regards to indices, the German DAX led the gains, closing up 1.1. percent.

Basic resources stocks — with their heavy exposure to China — rallied in afternoon trade to close up nearly 2.7 percent following comments from Xi. Speaking at the Boao Forum in China, Xi said the Asian giant would take measures to sharply widen market access for foreign investors, increase the foreign ownership limit in the country's autos sector and do more to protect the intellectual property of international firms.

Anglo American, was the second best sectoral performer, rising in afternoon trade to close over 5 percent higher. BHP Billiton, Arcelormittal and Rio Tinto all finished Tuesday around 3 percent in the green.

The autos sector also performed well, closing up 1.9 percent. Porsche and Volkswagen led the way, both ending trade up around 4.5 percent. Xi's proposals included lowering tariffs on car imports.

Utilities was the only sector to close negatively, ending the day down 0.74 percent.

Looking at individual stocks, shares of LVMH closed nearly 5 percent higher after hitting fresh record highs earlier in the session. The world's biggest luxury goods group advanced towards the top of the European benchmark after it posted stronger-than-anticipated sales growth in the first three months of 2018. The upbeat start to the calendar year was supported by a thriving Chinese appetite for luxury goods.

Meanwhile, fragrance and flavor-maker Givaudan posted weaker-than-expected sales figures over the first quarter, despite a boost from new contract wins and acquisitions, Reuters reported. While its shares pared some losses in the last few hours of trading, it closed near the bottom of the European benchmark, down 2.4 percent.

U.S. stocks rally

Stocks stateside rallied as Wall Street breathed a sigh of relief after Xi's address earlier in the day. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 500 points, with DowDuPont as the best-performing stock on the index. The S&P 500 gained 1.6 percent, with energy leading 10 of 11 sectors higher. The Nasdaq composite also advanced 1.6 percent.

Oil markets continued to gain during Tuesday's trade. Brent crude futures climbed 3 percent at $70.73, while West Texas Intermediate crude futures were trading 2.9 percent higher at $65.28 a barrel.

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