European shares clocked a sixth-straight week of gains on Friday following record highs on Wall Street after bullish comments from a White House official on US-China trade talks.
The pan-European STOXX 600 rose 0.4 percent to 406.04 points, close to four-year highs it hit last week, with most sectors ending in the black.
For the week, the index rose 0.2 percent.
White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow late on Thursday said that Washington and Beijing were getting close to a trade agreement, citing what he called very constructive talks with Beijing about ending a 16-month trade dispute.
“Europe as a whole is a story of more optimism about a trade deal and the fact that Italy and Spain, which in the last couple of days had underperformed, are doing better,” TS Lombard head of strategy Andrea Cicione said.
European indices that see-sawed through the week on conflicting trade headlines, glum economic indicators, mixed corporate outlook and some rocky Spanish politics, managed to end the week marginally higher.
Trade-sensitive commodity-linked and technology stocks led gains on the day, while defensive plays like utilities and telecoms lagged.
Chipmakers Infineon Technologies AG, STMicroelectronics NV and ASML Holding NV were all up on industry bellwether Applied Materials Inc’s upbeat forecast for the first quarter of next year.
A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S was the biggest climber in the STOXX 600 after the world’s biggest container shipping firm said that despite an uncertain economic outlook, a focus on driving down costs put it on track to improve its profit margin.
A handful of disappointments among stocks listed in the Nordic region kept overall gains in check.
Swedish human care equipment maker Elekta AB dropped 11 percent after slashing its full-year outlook, while SEB SA sank 12 percent after the lender said it had been informed a broadcaster would air a program on suspected money laundering that would include information concerning the bank.
Those falls flattened the Stockholm index, while Norwegian shares fell 0.4 percent, hit by salmon producers Mowi ASA and SalMar ASA after the companies said the US Department of Justice had issued subpoenas.
News that the British opposition Labour Party would nationalize parts of the telecoms provider BT Group PLC’s network if it won power in the Dec. 12 election hit other telecom peers and capped gains for the FTSE 100.
BT shares slid 1 percent, while Vodafone Group PLC and TalkTalk Telecom Group PLC fell 3 percent each.
“We’ve been pointing out over the last few months that in UK equities there is a Brexit and a Corbyn discount because of the threat of nationalization, and they’ve become all too real with this becoming a part of the Labour manifesto,” Cicione said.
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