European stocks close higher as investors gear up for US-China trade talks

Key Points
  • The pan-European Stoxx 600 closes 0.8% higher, with trade-sensitive sectors autos and basic resources leading gains.
  • The rally comes after President Donald Trump said he will meet with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He at the White House on Friday.
  • U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Irish counterpart Leo Varadkar say they now see a "pathway" to a possible Brexit deal.

European stocks closed higher Thursday following a choppy session, with investors looking ahead to trade talks between the U.S. and China.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed provisionally 0.8%, after fluctuating for much of the session. Trade-sensitive sectors autos and basic resources led the gains, adding over 2% and 3% respectively.

Trade negotiations between the world's two largest economies are due to recommence in Washington later on Thursday, with President Donald Trump stating that he will meet with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He on Friday.

"Big day of negotiations with China," Trump said in a tweet. "They want to make a deal, but do I? I meet with the Vice Premier tomorrow at The White House."

On Wall Street, stocks rose in early deals on the back of Trump's tweet.

Back in Europe, a meeting between U.K. and European Union Brexit negotiators has been delayed until Friday, Reuters reported, after the EU told British Prime Minister Boris Johnson that substantial concessions are required if a last-minute deal is to be agreed before the October 31 deadline.

However, optimism over Brexit grew later in the afternoon as Johnson and his Irish counterpart Leo Varadkar said in a joint statement that they both now see a "pathway to a possible deal." Sterling spiked over 1% versus the dollar.

On the data front, U.K. GDP figures published Thursday beat forecasts, rising 0.3% in the three months to August as July's growth was revised up from 0.3% to 0.4%. The numbers place Britain on track to avoid a recession in the third quarter.

In terms of individual stocks, luxury goods maker LVMH climbed more than 5% after strong results, pulling fellow luxury brand Christian Dior over 4% higher. Britain's Clydesdale Bank jumped north of 6% to lead the Stoxx 600.

On the other end, Danish bioscience company Chr. Hansen tumbled 9% after missing profit expectations, while Dutch health technology company Philips also fell about 9% after warning it will miss its 2019 margin goal.