European stocks close higher after report says US, China seeking to restart trade talks

  • The U.S. and China are reportedly attempting to restart trade talks to avoid a trade war.
  • Several corporates report earnings on Tuesday, including Credit Suisse and BP.
  • Economic data showing the euro area grew only 0.3 percent in the second quarter of the year from the first quarter.

European stocks closed higher after a report said that the U.S. and China are trying to restart trade talks, while traders continued to monitor corporate earnings.

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The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed provisionally 0.18 percent higher, with most major bourses and sectors in the black. Media shares rose 0.21 percent on earnings. Vivendi rose 3.74 percent after reporting first-half results. The company said it could sell up to half of its Universal Music Group assets.

Looking at individual stocks, shares of Leonardo led the gains, up by 10.6 percent on strong second-quarter results. The Swedish firm Hexagon also jumped 5.39 percent after reporting second-quarter numbers above forecasts. At the other end of the benchmark, the U.K. housebuilder Travis Perkins dropped 10.78 percent after cutting its profit outlook.

On Wall Street, stocks opened higher as tech shares struggled for gains following a steep sell-off the past three sessions. Market players also eyed a Bloomberg report that the U.S. and China are attempting to reignite negotiations to avoid a trade war between the two superpowers. The report cited two unnamed sources that could not immediately be verified by CNBC.

Earnings central

Tuesday is a big day for earnings in Europe. Credit Suisse reported Tuesday a net income of 647 million Swiss francs ($655.33 million) for the second quarter of the year. The figure beat analysts' expectations, which had pointed to a net income around 550 million Swiss francs. Shares rose 1.14 percent.

BP's profit surged in the second quarter of 2018 and the oil giant hiked its dividend for the first time in four years. Shares were up 1.379 percent on the news.

Euro zone growth slows

Market sentiment had been dented by economic data showing the euro area grew only 0.3 percent in the second quarter of the year from the first quarter. According to the region's statistical office, this was due to concerns over international trade amid higher tariffs and barriers.

In terms of inflation, prices rose 2.1 percent year-on-year in July from 2 percent in June, the Eurostat said Tuesday. The surge in prices was mostly due to higher energy costs, which are deemed temporary.

Earlier, data released in France, showed prices surging to 2.6 percent over a year in July — the highest level on record since March 2016.

In other news, Brexit worries for the U.K.'s automotive industry remain in the spotlight after the boss of the country's automobile industry group said that no-deal was "just not an option" for the sector. Carmakers are "increasingly concerned" about the lack of clarity surrounding the U.K.'s divorce from the European Union, Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said. Meanwhile, British Prime Minister Theresa May has been invited to hold talks with French President Emmanuel Macron, according to reports.