Top Stories
Top Stories
Markets

European markets close higher on US-China trade move; Persimmon tumbles

Key Points
  • There is renewed trade optimism after U.S. President Donald Trump announced a postponement of a deadline, which would have triggered fresh trade tariffs on China.
  • Both countries continue working to reach an agreement over trade. If a deal is reached, Trump said there will be a summit with Chinese President Xi.

European stocks moved higher Monday as investors monitored the ongoing China-U.S. trade talks.

European Markets: FTSE, GDAXI, FCHI, IBEX

The pan-European Stoxx 600 finished provisionally up 0.29 percent by the mid-afternoon. Autos were the clear top-leading sector, up more than 2.1 percent, as trade talks between the U.S. and China take center stage. The sector is highly influenced by developments in global trade.

U.S. President Donald Trump announced a postponement of a deadline – March 1 – which would have triggered fresh trade tariffs on China. Both countries continue working to reach an agreement over trade. If a deal is reached, Trump said there will be a summit with Chinese President Xi.

In individual stock news, Persimmon tumbled near the bottom of the index, down by more than 4 percent. This is after the U.K. government reviewed the house builder participation in the Help to Buy Scheme, a government program aimed at supporting purchases of first homes, and said that it was "increasingly concerned" by the firm's practices.

There was also some momentum in Italian stocks during mid-morning deals. Credit rating agency Fitch affirmed its BBB rating to the southern country.

Staying in Italy, Carrefour – Europe's largest food retailer – said it could cut up to 4 percent of its Italian workforce as it adjusts to slowing sales in the country. The retailer's shares fell by more than  half a percent during afternoon deals.

Vivendi, Telecom Italia's main shareholder said that it would support a merger with rival Open Fiber, under the right conditions, Reuters reported.

In other corporate news, Roche is set to buy the gene therapy specialist Spark in a $4.3 billion deal.

Stateside, stocks opened higher on Monday on the back of the delay to U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods.

Brexit uncertainty

Meanwhile, political uncertainty over Brexit remains. Prime Minister Theresa May has delayed returning to parliament for another key vote on her Brexit deal. MPs are now expected to have another meaningful vote by March 12. The U.K.'s departure from the European Union is currently scheduled for March 29.

Elsewhere, European leaders travelled to Egypt to participate in the first summit with Arab League countries. The focus of the meeting is on migration.