European stocks close higher as trade disputes take center stage; Deutsche Bank slips 3.4%

  • Jerome Powell said that he deems the Fed's benchmark interest rate to be close to a neutral level, marking a step away from comments made in recent months.
  • In individual stocks news, Britvic shares rose more than 7 percent after it said its sugarless drinks had boosted sales.

European stocks lost some of the steam seen earlier in the session, as trade concerns began to take center stage.

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The pan-European Stoxx 600 index ended provisionally higher by 0.20 percent in late afternoon with stocks in the Basic Resources basket among those leading the gains.

The mining and oil heavy FTSE 100 saw gains, helped by a recovery from Brent Crude and a decline in pound sterling.

Investors are waiting for a G-20 summit due to start Friday. President Donald Trump and China President Xi Jinping are due to meet on the sidelines in an attempt to improve their trade relations.

Meantime, European traders are mulling over whether Trump will slash a 25 percent tariff on European carmakers. The Autos sector moved higher on Thursday.

But the biggest driver to Europe's stock market on Thursday was Wednesday's highly-anticipated speech from the chair of the Federal Reserve. Speaking in New York, Jerome Powell said that he deems the Fed's benchmark interest rate to be close to a neutral level, marking a step away from comments made in recent months.

Back in October, Powell stated that the U.S. was a "long way" from hitting neutral, when it came to interest rates — which indicated to markets at the time that more rate hikes were on the horizon. Following Powell's comments on Wednesday, Wall Street saw stocks leap with the Dow seeing its biggest rally in eight months, closing up over 600 points up and supported Asian trading too. The expectation that the Fed is likely to raise rates to a lower level than previously expected is a positive for shares.

Sticking with central banking news, the Bank of England claimed that a "disorderly" departure from the European Union, would put the U.K. economy under severe pressure and could be more painful for the U.K. than the global financial crisis was.

In individual stocks news, Britvic shares rose more than 7 percent after it said its sugarless drinks had boosted sales.

Deutsche Bank in trouble again?

Shares of the German lender dropped 3.4 percent following news of a police raid to its headquarters in Frankfurt, amid allegations of money laundering against the country's flagship lender.