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European markets close higher ahead of Trump-Kim summit; Italian banks rise

  • The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed up 0.8 percent with almost all sectors in positive territory.
  • The Italian index was the top performing market in Europe, rising during afternoon trade to close up 3.5 percent following comments from new Finance Minister Giovanni Tria.
  • Banks were the leading sector at the market close, boosted by a rally in Italian banking stocks.

European equities closed higher Monday afternoon ahead of a historic meeting between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

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IBEX 35
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The pan-European Euro Stoxx 600 closed up 0.8 percent provisionally with almost all sectors in positive territory.

The Italian index was the top performing market in Europe, rising during afternoon trade to close up 3.5 percent. Italian Finance Minister Giovanni Tria, speaking to a local newspaper over the weekend, reaffirmed his government's commitment to the euro. Italian banks Intesa Sanpaolo, UniCredit and Monte Dei Paschi all closed up over 6 percent. Italian insurers Poste Italiane and Generali also pushed higher, with the sector finishing trade up 1.3 percent.

Banking stocks led the way among Europe's business sectors more broadly, closing 1.9 percent in the black as traders expect further monetary tightening from central banks this week. The Federal Reserve is due to announce its latest rate decision Wednesday and the European Central Bank is scheduled to start preparing the end of monetary stimulus Thursday.

Meanwhile, automakers were the only sector to close negatively, down 0.3 percent. Daimler closed 0.9 percent lower, trimming losses made earlier in the session. This followed a German newspaper report which said that up to 1 million vehicles contain an emissions cheating device. In a response to CNBC's request, Daimler declined to comment on the article but did say that it is co-operating fully and openly with the Department of Transportation.

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Looking at individual stocks, Inmarsat rose to the top of the index, bumping up the telecoms sector. The British telecommunications firm closed up 12.7 percent, hovering near this level throughout the afternoon, following comments from the company that it had rejected a preliminary offer from Echostar.

Trump-Kim summit

Stateside, U.S. stocks held steady as investors shrugged off some concerns over a tumultuous G-7 meeting over the weekend at which President Donald Trump lashed out at U.S. allies. The market focus is on the landmark summit between North Korea and the United States. Both Trump and Kim are already in Singapore ahead of a scheduled meeting Tuesday morning at a luxury hotel.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 7 points, with losses in McDonald's and 3M dragging down gains in UnitedHealth and Home Depot. The S&P 500 rose 0.1 percent as a rise in telecommunications stocks offset mild losses in technology.