Sun, Dec 08, 2019 - Page 14 News List

European equities get a boost from US jobs data, optimism on US-China talks

Reuters

European shares on Friday closed higher, extending gains after impressive US jobs data bolstered sentiment buoyed by positive statements from Washington regarding trade talks with China.

The pan-European STOXX 600 on Friday finished up 4.70 points, or 1.2 percent, at 407.36, helping erase nearly all of a tumultuous week’s losses from a close of 407.43 on Nov. 29.

Stocks swung wildly this week on conflicting statements and reports regarding the progress of US-China trade negotiations, as well as some weak economic indicators from Europe.

Data on Friday showed that US job growth last month increased by the most in 10 months, confirming that the US economy remained on a moderate expansion path. That helped quell some fears of a negative rub-off on growth from a trade war with China.

“The market has been looking at the data with rapt attention, and of course we had what could be called a blowout number,” City Index market analyst Ken Odeluga said. “The possibility of the beginnings of some sort of slowdown tends to be obliviated by a reading like that, and the details tend to support it as well.”

This added to optimism that stemmed from comments by US President Donald Trump on Friday that discussions with China were “moving right along,” which was later echoed by US National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow.

From their end, Chinese officials said that they would waive import tariffs for some soybeans and pork shipments from the US.

Gains on the day in Europe were broad-based and led by commodity-linked stocks.

Retail shares were also in the top mix, with Marks & Spencer Group PLC rising 4.1 percent after JPMorgan Chase & Co upgraded the stock from “underweight” to “neutral.”

London’s FTSE 100 on Friday gained 101.81 points, or 1.4 percent, to 7,239.66, its best day in more than four months as sterling weakened and energy firms rode oil prices higher.

However, on the week the FTSE posted its worst loss in two months, falling 1.5 percent from 7,346.53 on Nov. 29.

Investors are bracing for an action-packed week as Britons go to vote on Thursday, with opinion polls suggesting that the ruling Conservative Party would win an outright majority needed for Britain’s smooth exit from the EU.

Limiting gains on the Frankfurt index were figures showing that Germany’s industrial output unexpectedly dropped in October, reviving worries over the growth outlook of Europe’s economic powerhouse.

The DAX on Friday rose 111.78 points, or 0.9 percent, to 13,166.58, a drop of 0.5 percent from 13,236.38 a week earlier.

Additional reporting by staff writer

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