Markets

European stocks close higher amid choppy session ahead of US-China trade truce

Key Points
  • The U.S. Treasury Department on Monday dropped its designation of China as a currency manipulator, as a Chinese delegation led by Vice Premier Liu He arrived in Washington ahead of the signing of a phase one trade deal.

European stocks fluctuated on Tuesday as Chinese negotiators arrived in Washington to sign a long-awaited preliminary trade deal with the U.S.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed provisionally 0.24% higher having jumped between red and black multiple times during a choppy session. Household goods stocks added 0.65% on average and travel and leisure stocks notched a 0.75% gain.  Toil and gas sector slipped 0.39% lower.

The FTSE 100 in London finished the session 0.14% above the flatline,  registering its fourth day of gains in five sessions.

The U.S. Treasury Department on Monday dropped its designation of China as a currency manipulator, an apparent gesture of good will as a Chinese delegation led by Vice Premier Liu He arrived ahead of the signing of the partial trade accord. The deal comes after more than 18 months of tit-for-tat tariff hikes between the world's two largest economies.

Stocks in Asia mostly advanced on signs of a thawing in relations, with MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan gaining around 0.2%.

Later in the United States, Stocks opened little changed but banks stocks rose as J.P. Morgan Chase and Citigroup posted stronger-than-forecast quarterly results.

Back in Europe, sterling edged above the $1.30 mark. This after data released Monday showed that U.K. economic growth slowed to its weakest since 2012 in November, boosting expectations of an interest rate cut from the Bank of England later this month.

Stocks on the move

NMC Health's London-listed shares climbed more than 10% as the Abu Dhabi-based hospital chain gears up for a legal battle with U.S. activist short seller Muddy Waters, which launched an assault on the company's balance sheet last month.

Old Mutual's London-listed shares climbed 2.7% after a South African court upheld the company's appeal against the temporary reinstatement of former CEO Peter Moyo, who was suspended in May 2019 amid allegations of a conflict of interest.

Evonik slid 4% after the German chemicals company's controlling shareholder sold over 5% of its stake, while Tullow Oil continued a volatile period to fall 4.9% to the bottom of the European benchmark.