Markets

Europe closes higher as China's GDP grows as expected; Stoxx 600 hit records high

Key Points
  • The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed provisionally up by 0.9%, having notched a fresh record high earlier in the day.
  • The Chinese economy grew by 6.1% in 2019, its slowest in 29 years but meeting analyst expectations even amid the protracted trade war with the U.S.
  • Figures published Friday revealed that euro zone inflation picked up slightly in December, with headline inflation coming in at 1.3% from 1.0% in November.

European stocks closed higher on Friday after data showed China's economy grew in line with expectations in 2019, lifting global markets.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed provisionally up by 0.9%, having notched a fresh record high earlier in the day. Basic resources stocks jumped over 2% to lead gains as most sectors and major bourses traded in positive territory.

The world's second-largest economy grew by 6.1% in 2019, its slowest in 29 years but meeting analyst expectations even amid the protracted trade war with the U.S., which reached a truce this week after Washington and Beijing signed an initial "phase one" trade deal.

On Wall Street, stocks were mostly higher. The Dow Jones Industrial Average traded up by around 30 points, while the S&P 500 also inched higher and the Nasdaq was barely changed.

In corporate news, Swiss luxury goods giant Richemont on Friday reported a slowdown in sales growth as political unrest in Hong Kong weighed on its fourth-quarter turnover. Richemont shares climbed 5.3% as markets took heart from strong Chinese sales which offset Hong Kong headwinds.

Figures published Friday revealed that euro zone inflation picked up slightly in December, with headline inflation coming in at 1.3% from 1.0% in November.

Although well below the European Central Bank's 2% target, the marginal upward momentum may decrease the possibility of further monetary policy easing from the central bank in the immediate future.

Stocks on the move

NMC Health's London-listed stock surged 8% after the Abu Dhabi-based hospital chain retained former FBI director Louis Freeh to conduct an independent investigation of its business, in response to allegations raised by U.S. activist short seller Muddy Waters.

Swedish Orphan Biovitrum shares jumped around 9% after the company raised its full-year estimates for 2019.

At the other end of the European benchmark, Casino shares fell roughly 5%, after the French retailer slashed its profit forecast for 2019.