Markets

European stocks close higher after Trump tweet

Key Points
  • The Fed held rates steady after its last policy meeting of 2019 on Wednesday following three rate cuts in the past five months, but signaled that rates would remain accommodative with no hikes expected in 2020.
  • The European Central Bank (ECB) announced its latest monetary policy decision on Thursday afternoon, marking a debut for new President Christine Lagarde.
  • Voters headed to the polls Thursday in the U.K.'s second general election since the landmark vote to leave the European Union in 2016.

European equities recovered in afternoon trade Thursday after President Donald trump tweeted that the U.S. was "getting very close to a trade deal with China."

Earlier Thursday, stocks had recorded minimal losses after the European Central Bank (ECB) kept its rates unchanged following new President Christine Lagarde's first monetary policy meeting in Frankfurt.

By the close of trade, the pan-European Stoxx 600 was around 0.5% higher, with banks, basic resources and autos leading the charge in the wake of Trump's trade-friendly tweet.

Earlier, the ECB Governing Council had voted to keep the main deposit rate at the historic low of -0.5%, in line with market expectations, while the marginal lending facility remained at 0.25%.

Stocks had made a cautiously optimistic start to the trading session after the U.S. Federal Reserve held rates steady at its last policy meeting of 2019 on Wednesday following three rate cuts in the past five months, but signaled that rates would remain accommodative with no hikes expected in 2020.

Stocks in Asia mostly inched higher following the decision, led by a 1.26% jump for Hong Kong's Hang Seng index, while mainland Chinese shares offered a more mixed picture.

In the U.S., the Dow Jones Industrial Average traded 200 points higher, or 0.7%. The S&P 500 also surged 0.7% along with the Nasdaq Composite. Thursday marked the first time since Nov. 27 that the major averages hit record highs.

Back in Europe, voters head to the polls Thursday in the U.K.'s second general election since the landmark vote to leave the European Union in 2016. The election promises to be pivotal for the fate of Brexit and the country's economic policy.

The Ifo Institute on Thursday confirmed its 1.1% growth forecast for the German economy, while revising its 2021 projection up from 1.4% to 1.5%.

Euro zone industrial output declined by 0.5% month-on-month in October and was down 2.2% from the same period last year, official EU statistics revealed on Thursday.

Stocks on the move

Tullow Oil continued its recovery from Monday's 70% plunge to add 15.2% by the close, while British infrastructure group Balfour Beatty saw its shares climb 4.3% after upgrading its full-year profit guidance.

At the bottom of the European blue chip index, Finland's Konecranes dropped 4.4% while French retailer Casino shed 4.2%.