European shares set for sixth week of gains on bullish trade talk

Traders work at their desks in front of the German share price index, DAX board, at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, October 6, 2016. — Reuters pic
Traders work at their desks in front of the German share price index, DAX board, at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, October 6, 2016. — Reuters pic

LONDON, Nov 15 — European shares were moving closer to a sixth-straight week of gains today following a record close on Wall Street after bullish comments from a White House official on US-China trade talks boosted appetite for riskier assets.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.4 per cent by 0932 GMT, inching back to a four-year high.

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said late yesterday Washington and Beijing were getting close to a trade agreement, citing what he called very constructive talks with Beijing about ending a 16-month trade war.

Miners were the top gainers on the day, up about 1.5 per cent, followed by technology stocks.

Shares in chipmakers Infineon, STMicroelectronics and ASML Holding rose between 0.8 per cent and 1.4 per cent, after industry bellwether Applied Materials forecast a strong first quarter ahead of the 5G rollout in key markets.

“Maybe, just maybe we are finally nearing a long-awaited indication from President Trump that the protracted period of market adversity is mercilessly nearing its end,” said Stephen Innes, a market strategist at AxiTrader.

The STOXX 600 was still on course for a tiny gain in a week that saw lacklustre economic indicators, a profit warning from automaker Daimler and rocky Spanish politics.

Telecom shares were boosted by a 2.5 per cent gain in Orange after France’s biggest telecoms operator said it was preparing to split its mobile towers unit into a separate company.

However, news that Britain’s opposition Labour Party said it would nationalise parts of the telecoms provider BT’s network if it won power in the December 12 election, capped gains on the sector index.

BT shares were flat, while Vodafone dropped 0.4 per cent and TalkTalk fell 3.5 per cent.

Shares in Saipem gained 2.1 per cent after Bloomberg reported the Italian oil services group was considering combining with its rival Subsea 7. Subsea shares rose 3.9 per cent.

“From an industrial point of view, the integration of the two entities would strengthen the exposure of SPM in the offshore business and could generate cost synergies,” an analyst at Equitas wrote in a note.

Sweden’s SEB sank 14.3 per cent after the bank said it had been informed a broadcaster would air a programme on suspected money laundering in the Baltics that would include information concerning the bank.

Stockholm-listed shares dropped 0.4 per cent, while Norwegian shares were hit by salmon producers Mowi and SalMar after the companies said the US Department of Justice had issued subpoenas.

The top gainer on the STOXX 600 was Danish software company Simcorp, up 3.8 per cent after better-than-expected results. — Reuters

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