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Nov 23, 2018

Before the Bell: Italian banks lift European markets slightly higher; Rockwool shares tumble 11%

Sam Meredith

European stocks were slightly higher Friday morning, as investors cautiously managed hopes for progress in Brexit negotiations.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 edged up around 0.2 percent during mid-morning deals, with most sectors and major bourses in positive territory.
FTSE FTSE 100 6951.57 -8.75 -0.13% 222669259
DAX DAX 11138.50 0.01 0% 25467405
CAC CAC 4940.39 2.25 0.05% 20418547
Europe's banking index was among the top performers Friday morning, up around 0.8 percent amid support from Italy's notoriously fragile lenders. Banco BPM, Unicredit and Ubi Banca were all trading more than 2 percent higher after the country's deputy prime minister, Luigi Di Maio, reportedly said Rome would show the highest willingness to work with European institutions in order to resolve a budget stand-off.
However, Di Maio also told La Repubblica Friday that Italy would not be prepared to amend the main pillars of its expansionary 2019 budget. The European Commission has already rejected the country's big spending plans, saying it fails to bring down the deficit as required by EU regulations.
Looking at individual stocks, Britain's Flybe surged towards the top of the London Stock Exchange on Friday. It comes after the regional airline confirmed Virgin Atlantic was one of the parties it was in talks with as part of a formal sales process. Rival airlines including Ryanair and Easyjet had previously ruled themselves out of bidding for Flybe. Shares of the stock rose more than 20 percent on the news.
Meanwhile, Denmark's Rockwool tumbled towards the bottom of the European benchmark amid disappointing earnings news. The Copenhagen-listed stock fell over 11 percent Friday.


Market focus is largely attuned to Brexit developments, after a draft deal was reached between the U.K. and the European Union late Thursday.
The agreement follows a treaty last week that set the terms for Britain's withdrawal from the bloc in March 2019.
The British government still faces a daunting task in getting the deal through Parliament, with lawmakers deeply divided over the proposal in its current form.
Meanwhile, weaker-than-expected earnings, lingering concerns about Sino-U.S. trade tensions and slowing global investment continue to cap significant gains.
With U.S. markets closed overnight for Thanksgiving and Japan on holiday Friday, trading activity is expected to be relatively muted on Friday.

Source: CNBC

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