European shares edge higher on trade optimism; U.S. bank earnings weigh

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04/15/2019 | 06:53 pm
(Reuters) - European shares ended higher on Monday with telecom and retail stocks leading gains as Sino-U.S. trade optimism and strong Chinese economic data eased some worries over global growth - though lacklustre earnings from big U.S. banks weighed.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose for the fourth straight session, hovering near eight-month highs with most indices in the region gaining, apart from Britain's FTSE 100 which lost ground as miners and oil majors fell.

Markets cheered the progress in trade talks after U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Saturday he hoped that the United States and China were close to the final round of negotiations.

Reuters reported that U.S. negotiators had tempered demands that China curb industrial subsidies as a condition for a deal after strong resistance from Beijing.

"Growth worries will continue to be shrugged off as long as trade talks go well and central banks continue to support monetary policy," said David Madden, an analyst at CMC Markets, London.

Investors are bracing for earnings to come later in the week and will also be scrutinizing data - including Germany’s ZEW survey and Chinese gross domestic product due on Wednesday.

Bank stocks, which led gains earlier in the day on last week's earnings beat from JP Morgan, slipped after lacklustre results from Goldman Sachs and Citigroup.

"We do see a bit of pressure on Eurozone banks because of those earnings," said Madden.

Shares in Danish healthcare company Ambu rose more than 7 percent, making it the biggest gainer on the STOXX 600, after the U.S. FDA said products produced by some of its rivals had higher than expected levels of contamination.

French media conglomerate Vivendi closed at a more than 11-year high after it posted higher first-quarter revenue and said it was forging ahead with the planned sale of up to 50 percent of its UMG music arm.

Shares of Norwegian metals maker Norsk Hydro rose to more than two-month highs after the company won further support for its bid to resume full output from its Alunorte alumina refinery in Brazil.

Italian media group Mediaset and its German rival ProSiebenSat.1 Media rose on merger speculation, even though both companies denied they were in talks.

The biggest drag on the STOXX were basic resources stocks with London-listed shares of Rio Tinto falling more than 1 percent. The mining company is due to release its production data for the March quarter later in the week.

Finland's Nokia weighed on the Helsinki and the euro zone blue chips index after Goldman Sachs downgraded the stock to "sell".

Nestle, trading without entitlement to its latest dividend pay-out, dragged down the food & beverages index.

Compass Group was among the biggest weights on London's blue-chip index after Barclays downgraded shares of the world's largest caterer to "equal-weight".

(Reporting by Medha Singh,Susan Mathew and Agamoni Ghosh in Bengaluru; Editing by Alison Williams and Andrew Heavens)

By Agamoni Ghosh

Thomson Reuters 2019
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