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European stocks traded higher Thursday as markets recovered from an early rattle caused by U.S. President Donald Trump's renewed targeting of Chinese tech firm Huawei. The pan-European STOXX 600 hit a day high just around the close of trade.
The STOXX 600 closed provisionally up by around 1.2%, Chemicals leading the gains with a 2.54% climb, while autos struggled to make headway, slipping 0.6%.
Thyssenkrupp was the strongest performer, its stock rising 10.03% on reports that Finland's Kone is assessing the viability of a bid for the German industrial company's elevators division. Kone shares traded 4.98% higher.
The European Commission revealed Thursday that Barclays, Citigroup, J.P. Morgan, MUFG and Royal Bank of Scotland have been fined a total of 1.07 billion euros ($1.2 billion) by EU antitrust regulators for rigging the spot foreign exchange market for 11 currencies.
In Asia, shares were mixed in Thursday afternoon trade after the U.S. took aim at Huawei again, with President Donald Trump declaring a national emergency over threats against U.S. technology. The move, done via executive order, is expected to precede a ban on American firms dealing with the Chinese telecommunications company.
However, French President Emmanuel Macron spoke to CNBC Thursday and poured cold water on the idea of implementing protectionist measures on tech companies like Huawei.
Mainland Chinese and Hong Kong shares recovered from an early slip to trade slightly higher in the afternoon, while stocks in Japan and South Korea finished in the red.
Stateside, investors will be monitoring a volatile market environment after stocks rose Wednesday following multiple sources telling CNBC of the delay to auto tariffs. This came after a market sell-off Monday as the trade war between the world's largest economies gathered pace.
Trade tensions, however, continued to weigh on investor sentiment as Trump declared a national emergency over threats against American technology.
Back in Europe, Brexit-supporting rebels within British Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservative Party said Wednesday they would vote down her European Union divorce deal, due to be put before parliament for a fourth time next month. May has also held talks with senior Conservative MPs who are demanding she sets a date for her departure from Downing Street, BBC News reported Thursday.
Meanwhile, the European Commission is working on its biggest regulatory push on banking since the 2008 financial crisis, which could curb Britain's access following its departure from the bloc, Reuters reported.
In corporate news, Italian insurer Generali reported first-quarter net profit of 744 million euros ($833.8 million), a 28% rise, boosted by growing operating results and sales of businesses. The company's shares traded around 0.4% lower.
NN Group beat expectations with a 50% surge in first-quarter core profit at 468 million euros, fueled by improved performance in its Dutch life insurance business. Shares recovered from an early dip but were still down 0.4% during afternoon trade.
Travel agency Thomas Cook saw losses increase and said political uncertainty would impact its profits this summer, adding that it had received multiple bids for its airline unit after it was put up for sale. The company reported an underlying loss in earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) of £245 million ($314.6 million). Shares were trading around 15% lower in the afternoon session.