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Aug 29, 2018

European Markets at Close Report: Europe ends mostly higher as Canada re-joins US-Mexico trade talks; sterling climbs on Barnier comments I CNBC


Ryan Browne, Sam Meredith, Alexandra Gibbs


The majority of European markets finished Wednesday slightly higher, as investors continued to monitor corporate earnings and global trade developments.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed up 0.31 percent provisionally, with most sectors turning positive by the close.
 
FTSE FTSE 7572.63 -44.59 -0.59% 472550331
DAX DAX 12568.18 40.76 0.33% 40952723
CAC CAC 5502.86 17.87 0.33% 35432140
IBEX 35 --- --- --- --- --- ---
The U.K.'s FTSE 100 underperformed fellow bourses, off 0.69 percent as Brexit turmoil resurfaced. Other indexes however finished on a positive note, with France's CAC 40 rising 0.33 percent and Germany's DAX popping 0.28 percent. Most peripheral markets closed flat or in the black.
Europe's media stocks were some of the top performers Wednesday, finishing up 0.44 percent as a sector, amid earnings news. European broadcaster Rtl Group reported stronger-than-anticipated second-quarter revenue growth and confirmed its outlook for the remainder of the year. Shares of the firm rose 2.25 percent.
In other corporate news, British luxury car firm Aston Martin announced it may launch an initial public offering (IPO) in London. Aston Martin is most famously known as the car brand of choice for James Bond.
Looking at individual stocks, British software firm Micro Focus surged after the company announced it would launch a buy-back program. Shares of the London-listed stock climbed almost 3 percent on the news.
Italian luxury sports car-maker Ferrari jumped close to the top of the pan-European benchmark after HSBC upgraded the stock to "buy" from "hold." It was the STOXX 600's second best performer, jumping 4 percent.
Meanwhile, Spanish retailer Inditex slumped to the bottom of the index after Morgan Stanley cut its stock recommendation to "underweight" for the first time ever. The U.S. bank reportedly said it no longer feels comfortable ignoring the growing pressures the company is facing. Shares of Inditex came off its session lows, to close down 5.65 percent.

Sterling climbs; Turkish lira falls

The British pound soared some 1 percent to $1.299 against the U.S. dollar around Europe's close, after Europe's Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said the European Union was "prepared to offer a partnership with Britain such as never been with any other third country."
The U.K.'s FTSE 100 index consequently slipped following sterling's rally. The bourse often weakens when sterling rises against the dollar, as many of its listed companies make their profits in dollars.
Elsewhere, worries around Turkey were renewed on Wednesday after fresh data showed that economic confidence had dropped to its lowest in almost a decade. Turkish Finance Minister Berat Albayrak reportedly said Wednesday that the government does "not see a big risk" to the country's economy. At Europe's close, the Turkish lira weakened to 6.439 against the U.S. dollar.

Trade talks

On Wall Street, stocks were posting solid gains around Europe's close, with the Nasdaq hitting a record high, as traders watched trade negotiations between the U.S., Mexico and Canada.
A recent breakthrough in efforts to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) sent U.S. stocks to new all-time highs in the previous trading session. The U.S. and Mexico found common ground on key trade terms on Monday, potentially ending a bitter impasse in relations since President Donald Trump came into office.
Canada's main trade negotiator is in Washington this week, with investors cautiously optimistic Ottawa may be able to preserve the three-nation pact. The Trump administration has warned it could press ahead with Mexico alone and impose charges on Canada if it does not come on board with the revised terms.