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May 8, 2019

Europe | Europe Markets Closing Report on May 8, 2019 | European stocks close higher as White House says China wants to make trade deal

Chloe Taylor, Elliot Smith

European stocks were mixed on Wednesday as the escalating threat of a trade war between the U.S. and China continued to weigh on major markets.

European Markets: FTSE, GDAXI, FCHI, IBEX

FTSEFTSE 100FTSE7272.9912.520.17603350800
The pan-European STOXX 600 index hovered below the flatline during afternoon trade, with sectors and major bourses pointing in opposite directions.
Europe’s basic resources sector, with its heavy exposure to China, led the losses, down 1.5%.
Despite the news that Chinese Vice Premier Liu He would travel to Washington on Thursday, fears have been growing that the proposed trade deal between the two economic powers is unraveling.
Looking at individual stocks, cigarette maker Imperial Brands slumped toward the bottom of the European benchmark after it reported weaker-than-expected sales of its e-cigarettes on Wednesday, sending its shares to their lowest level this year. The British company’s shares were down almost 7% during afternoon deals.
British broadcaster ITV also saw its shares trading lower on Wednesday, losing nearly 6% after the company reported lower revenues ahead of the launch of its streaming service.
Meanwhile, Siemens surged toward the top of the index after the German company posted better-than-expected operating profit on Wednesday. Shares gained around 4.5% after the company’s results showed profit rose 7% to 2.4 billion euros ($2.69 billion) in the three months to March 31, beating estimates of 2.24 billion euros in an Infront data poll.
Commerzbank reported first-quarter revenue 2.16 billion euros, down 2.8% compared to the same period last year. The bank’s operating profit fell 5.6% to 244 million euros. Shares were marginally higher on Wednesday afternoon.
Stateside, stocks opened lower as investors continued to monitor developments between Washington and Beijing closely.
Political instability
Back in Europe, political uncertainty continued as the U.K. Conservative government resumed its negotiations with the main opposition Labour Party in bid to break parliamentary deadlock over the U.K.’s departure from the European Union. Sterling slumped to around $1.30 on Wednesday amid reports that talks to break the deadlock may soon collapse.
France suggested international sanctions could be reimposed on Iran if it reneges on commitments under its nuclear deal, Reuters reported, after Tehran said it would scale back its compliance a year after Washington pulled out.
Meanwhile, Italy accused the EU of prejudice after grim economic forecasts suggested the Italian economy would grow 0.1% this year, lagging the rest of the bloc.

Source: CNBC

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