European stocks close slightly higher with Brexit and earnings in focus; Just Eat soars 24%

Key Points
  • Members of Parliament (MPs) on Tuesday begin a three-day debate in which opponents of Johnson's exit plan will attempt to pass amendments on customs, a confirmatory second referendum, and the prevention of a no-deal exit.
  • U.S. President Donald Trump's chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow told Fox Business on Monday that there is a possibility for planned tariff hikes on Chinese goods in December to be halted if trade talks advance.

European markets closed slightly higher on Tuesday, as U.K. lawmakers debated Prime Minister Boris Johnson's EU Withdrawal Agreement Bill ahead of two crucial votes.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 ended the session 0.1% higher, with most sectors and all major bourses in positive territory. Oil and gas stocks rose 1.3% to lead gains while the travel and leisure sector slipped 1% lower.

Members of Parliament (MPs) will vote twice on Tuesday evening, first on whether a bill for Johnson's exit plan should proceed through parliament in principle, and the second on whether the prime minister should be allowed to drive his legislation through the House of Commons by the end of Thursday. The latter offers only a relatively short period of time for lawmakers to scrutinize the bill. If Johnson fails at the second hurdle, an extension to the October 31 deadline is likely.

Stocks on Wall Street traded mixed on Tuesday amid a flurry of earnings reports and optimism that the U.S. and China were edging toward a resolution on bilateral trade.

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng said Tuesday that progress was being made in talks between the world's two largest economies, adding that resolutions to their trade dispute could be found if mutual respect was maintained.

Earnings in focus

Swiss banking giant UBS on Tuesday reported a 16% drop year-on-year in its third-quarter profit as the bank warned of a "challenging environment." The lender's shares ended Tuesday's session flat.

Novartis also reported before the bell, the Swiss pharma powerhouse boosting its 2019 targets after beating third-quarter profit and sales expectations. Novartis stock traded up 1%.

At the top of the Stoxx 600, Just Eat shares soared 24% after Prosus, the international internet assets division of Naspers, announced a £4.9 billion ($6.34 billion) rival bid for the food delivery service, surpassing an existing offer from Dutch peer Shares of Takeaway and rival Delivery Hero climbed 2% and 3.4% respectively.

At the bottom of the European blue chip index, Travel giant Tui slid 7% after Morgan Stanley cut the stock from "overweight" to "equal" and reduced the target price.

German health care company Fresenius fell 6% while Austrian chipmaker AMS gave up early gains following strong third-quarter results to slide 3.6%.