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European stocks close higher on global trade and political reprieve; Clydesdale Bank down 21%

Key Points
  • China's Ministry of Commerce said Thursday that U.S. and Chinese trade negotiators held a phone call in the morning and agreed to meet in early October for another round of negotiations.
  • In a statement to CNBC, a U.S. Trade Representative spokesperson confirmed the phone call, but did not confirm the October meeting.
  • A bill introduced by opposition parties to block Prime Minister Boris Johnson from taking the U.K. out of the European Union without a deal on October 31 was passed in the House of Commons, and will not ascend to the House of Lords, the upper chamber of parliament.

European stocks closed higher on Thursday following confirmation of new U.S.-China trade talks and progress for U.K. lawmakers trying to block a no-deal Brexit.

European Markets: FTSE, GDAXI, FCHI, IBEX

The pan-European Stoxx 600 was 0.7% higher at the closing bell having earlier hit a one-month high, with autos jumping almost 3% to lead gains on the back of the expected resumption of U.S.-China trade negotiations. Health care was the worst performing sector, shedding 0.76%.

China's Ministry of Commerce said Thursday that U.S. and Chinese trade negotiators held a phone call in the morning and agreed to meet in early October for another round of negotiations. In a statement to CNBC, a U.S. Trade Representative spokesperson confirmed the phone call, but did not confirm the October meeting.

Stocks on Wall Street traded higher on Thursday, with the Dow Jones industrial average up 1.7% as investor optimism was lifted by the prospect of fresh U.S.-China trade negotiations.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday night failed in his bid to call a snap general election for October 15. A bill introduced by opposition parties to block Johnson from taking the U.K. out of the European Union without a deal on October 31 was also passed and will not ascend to the House of Lords, the upper chamber of parliament. The bill is now expected to pass through the Lords and be presented for royal ascent on Friday.

Italy saw an end to its recent political turbulence after Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte unveiled his new cabinet on Wednesday, uniting an unlikely coalition between the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) and the center-left Democratic Party (PD).

Stocks on the move

London-listed John Wood Group jumped 9% to top the Stoxx 600 on Thursday, and was closely followed by British housebuilder Melrose, which was up 8.7% by the end of the session.

Equinor also saw gains, with shares up 7.5% after the announcement of an early start to its Johan Sverdrup oil field.

Clydesdale Bank stock tumbled more than 21% after making a further provision of £300-£450 million in legacy costs to settle PPI claims.