Europe stocks close higher as China-US trade talks wrap up; Taylor Wimpey up 6%

  • Autos and technology were the best performing sectors on the back of the trade talks between Beijing and Washington.
  • U.K. housebuilders traded higher following a trading update by Taylor Wimpey.
  • The company said that it sees solid sales in 2019. The stock rose as much as 5.4 percent. Persimmon was up by 3.2 percent and Barratt Developments rose more than 2 percent.

Stocks in Europe closed in positive territory Wednesday after hitting a fresh three-week high, as investors grew confident that the U.S. and China will reach a trade agreement.

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The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed up 0.6 percent, with autos and technology the best performing sectors on the back of the trade talks between Beijing and Washington.

Looking at some individual stock performances, AMS, a European supplier of Apple, recovered some losses after starting the day in the red. A report from Japanese publication Nikkei on Wednesday said that the iPhone maker had reduced production for three new iPhone models in the first quarter.

U.K. housebuilders traded higher following a trading update by Taylor Wimpey, in which the firm forecast solid sales for 2019. The stock rose more than 6 percent on the back of the announcement. Persimmon and Barratt Developments were both up by 3.2 percent. Furthermore, France's Seb surged 10 percent after announcing the acquisition of the Californian coffee brewer Wilbur Curtis.

Stateside, stocks rose for a fourth consecutive day as investors remained positive that a deal would come out of the trade talks between the U.S. and China, which concluded on Wednesday. U.S. negotiators said in a statement that they discussed "China's pledge to purchase a substantial amount of agricultural, energy, manufactured goods, and other products and services from the United States."

However, the ongoing partial U.S. government shutdown, which entered its 19th day on Wednesday, threatened to weigh on that sentiment, as Democratic lawmakers and President Donald Trump remain divided over the funding of the border wall.

Back in Europe, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit Withdrawal Agreement suffered an early defeat on Wednesday as lawmakers voted for the government to swiftly come up with a plan B in case the deal is voted down next week. Sterling saw a modest rise against the dollar on the back of the news.