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European stocks higher on China trade data

Stocks across Europe traded higher as investors reacted to new Chinese trade data

European stocks traded higher on Friday morning as investors reacted to new Chinese trade data.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 climbed 0.2% by mid-morning, basic resources leading the gains with a 1.7% climb while autos recovered from an early fall to trade 1.3% higher.

An official report Friday revealed that China’s exports fell less than expected in June, with dollar-denominated exports falling 1.3% from the same period a year ago. Economists polled by Reuters had expected a 2% decline on the back of the ongoing trade war with the U.S.

Daimler stock was down 3% in early deals but recovered to trade around the flatline by mid-morning. The German carmaker warned investors to expect a second-quarter loss before interest and taxes of 1.6 billion euros ($1.8 billion) after a 2.6 billion euro profit posted in the same period last year.

In a report published Thursday afternoon, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) urged fresh stimulus from the European Central Bank (ECB) to mitigate rising economic dangers, causing stocks to slide into the red. The IMF warned that the euro zone economy faces rising risks from trade tensions, Brexit and Italy.

Investors are also processing mixed messages from the U.S. Federal Reserve after Chairman Jerome Powell kept the focus Thursday on global risks which could trigger a rate cut this month, while colleagues from regional Fed districts painted a rosier picture of continued U.S. growth and a solid business outlook.

In corporate news, Chinese tourism group Fosun said on Friday that it is in advanced talks with Thomas Cook Group’s lending banks to inject £750 million ($940 million) into the London-listed travel operator. The British tour group’s stock plummeted on the news to its lowest level on record, and was down more than 40% by mid-morning.

Air China has agreed to buy 20 A350-900 jets from Airbus, bolstering the European planemaker’s order book for wide-body aircraft against Boeing and leading its stock to trade 0.7% higher early in Friday’s session.

Italian infrastructure group Atlantia said it would explore the purchase of a stake in ailing national airline Alitalia, though it is unlikely to be ready ahead of the government’s deadline of Monday. Atlantia stock traded 0.8% higher.

Norwegian financials company Storebrand fell 6.2% to the bottom of the Stoxx 600 after tepid second-quarter results, while insurance compatriot Gjensidige Forsikring climbed 6.4% after outperforming pretax profit expectations.

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