European shares shut larger as US-China commerce deal hopes return

European stocks closed higher Friday amid optimistic sounds out of the White House on a prospective trade deal between the U.S. and China.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed provisionally up 0.35%. Basic resource stocks — with their exposure to China — were among the top gainers, with the sector up over 1%.

White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow claimed on Thursday that phase one of a trade deal between the world’s two largest economies was “getting close,” according to Reuters, while Chinese Ministry of Commerce spokesman Gao Feng continued Beijing’s call for a removal of existing tariffs.

On Wall Street, stocks rose as traders reacted to Kudlow’s comments. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up over 100 points while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq bourses were also in the green.

Back in Europe, the EU executive launched a legal case against the U.K. on Thursday for failing to name a new representative at the European Commission, while data Thursday revealed that British consumer spending slowed in October, furthering suspicions that the economy is losing momentum ahead of December’s general election.

In other U.K. political news, Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party will reportedly no longer contest an additional 43 seats in next month’s general election. Sterling rose to a 10-day high versus the dollar on the back of the news.

Meanwhile, euro zone inflation slowed to 0.7% on the year in October from 0.8% in September, according to preliminary Eurostat estimates published Friday. The bloc’s trade surplus grew to 18.7 billion euros ($20.6 billion) in September, up from 12.6 billion euros in September 2018.

Stocks on the move

In terms of individual stocks, Moller-Maersk climbed around 6% to the top of the Stoxx 600 after releasing strong third-quarter earnings. British budget hotel company Whitbread also climbed, up nearly 5% following a broker upgrade.

On the other end of the benchmark, SEB shares tumbled by more than 12% after a Swedish TV show claimed to have information on the bank’s involvement in Baltic money laundering.

And shares of BT slipped 1% after the U.K.’s main opposition Labour party pledged to part-nationalize the telecommunications giant if it wins December’s general election.

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