European stocks traded higher as fears over U.S.-China trade war faded
European stocks traded higher on Friday, with investors returning to risk assets as fears over the U.S.-China trade battle receded.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 index was nearly 0.8% higher with the majority of sectors and all major bourses in positive territory. Stocks sensitive to trade wars, such as autos and miners, were among the biggest gainers, both jumping by around 1%.
President Donald Trump signalled Thursday that a trade deal with China could lift tough restrictions on the Chinese telecom giant Huawei. Trump predicted a swift end to the ongoing trade tensions.
Looking at individual stocks, French retailer Casino surged to the top of the European benchmark on Friday, with shares gaining 9% after a move to place parent company Rallye under protection from creditors relieved some pressure.
CNH Industrial also led the gains, with its stock up almost 4% on the back of a share buyback announcement.
In corporate news, Moeller Maersk shares initially rose after first-quarter results, but turned south after the Danish shipping giant warned trade tensions were slowing growth in the global freight industry. The firm slumped to the bottom of the Stoxx 600, down over 4%.
Meanwhile, U.K.-based retailer B&M also fell despite reporting an 8.7% increase in profit on Thursday. Concern around the company’s German business and weak sales in its homeware department dented shares, it was reported. The stock was off by nearly 4%.
On Wall Street, Dow futures indicated a jump of more than 100 points at the open, signalling investor fears over the trade dispute had been allayed by President Trump’s comments. S&P 500 and Nasdaq futures also pointed to solid gains.
In Europe, politics remains a central focus for European investors on Friday, as an EU-wide election continues into a second day. The big political news, though, came out of the U.K.
Prime Minister Theresa May announced on Friday that she would resign as party leader on June 7, making way for a new PM to continue Brexit negotiations with the EU. Sterling trimmed some losses seen on Thursday but continued to hover around a four-month low.