Markets

European stocks close higher as investors track trade and key euro zone data

Key Points
  • European stocks closed in positive territory on Friday but still averaged a loss of around half a percent over the week.
  • IHS Markit's flash euro zone PMI (purchasing managers' index) in November slid to 50.3 from 50.6 in October. A 50.0 reading represents stagnation.
  • Flash PMIs for the U.K. showed a contraction in both services and manufacturing in November.

European stocks closed in positive territory on Friday as investor optimism was largely lifted by developments in ongoing U.S.-China trade negotiations.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 was provisionally 0.4% higher at the closing bell, with positive news on the trade war outweighing weak economic data out of the euro zone. Basic resources stocks added 1.8% to lead gains as most sectors and major bourses advanced.

Against the backdrop of ongoing trade negotiations, tensions between the world's two largest economies have come under strain this week over a U.S. bill supporting Hong Kong protesters, while U.S. Navy warships twice sailed near islands in the South China Sea over the past few days, further angering Beijing.

However, market sentiment was lifted Friday after U.S. President Donald Trump said China and the U.S. were nearing a trade deal.

The Wall Street Journal had reported early Thursday that Chinese Vice Premier Liu He had invited U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to Beijing for further talks.

China's Ministry of Commerce spokesman Gao Feng said on Thursday that China is willing to work toward an agreement despite reports of pessimism in Beijing over President Donald Trump's refusal to roll back existing tariffs.

Stocks on Wall Street were mixed on Friday as investors continued to digest the president's comments.

Back in Europe, Germany avoided a recession in the third quarter as GDP (gross domestic product) expanded by 0.1% on the back of a 1% increase in exports, official statistics published Friday morning revealed.

IHS Markit's flash euro zone PMI (purchasing managers' index) in November slid to 50.3 from 50.6 in October. A 50.0 reading represents stagnation.

Flash PMIs for the U.K. showed a contraction in both services and manufacturing in November. Manufacturing came in at 48.3 compared to 49.6 in October, while services dropped to a 40-month low of 48.6.

In terms of individual stocks, Umicore stock fell 4%, while Johnson Matthey slipped 4.7% after price target cuts from UBS and Deutsche Bank.

Edenred slid 2.4% after the British payment solutions provider announced that it had suffered a malware infection.

Luxembourg steel giant Arcelormittal gained 6.6% while shares of satellite maker SES added 1.5%.