European shares rise after China’s Xi backs away from trade war

LONDON, April 11 — European shares rose yesterday after Chinese President Xi Jinping promised to cut import tariffs, fuelling optimism that a trade war between his country and the US could be averted.

Gains were widespread, with the STOXX 600 closing up 0.82 per cent, slightly below Wall Street, where the S&P 500 was up 1.8 per cent in morning trading.

Xi promised to open China’s economy further and lower import tariffs on products including cars, which helped the auto index jump about 1.9 per cent.

“We would see this as a major step towards opening the Chinese economy and to easing the very tense trade atmosphere ... The primary beneficiaries would be German carmakers and the German economy as a whole,” Evercore ISI analysts wrote.

Germany’s BMW <BMWG.DE> rose 1.9 per cent and Daimler was up 1.2 per cent, while Volkswagen surged 4.5 per cent.

Volkswagen carmaker is reported to be seeking to replace Chief Executive Matthias Mueller with the head of its core brand, Herbert Diess, as part of a broader overhaul of its management structure to boost efficiency.

The basic resources index gained the most, rising 2.7 per cent, as it also recovered from large losses on Monday when stocks exposed to Russia were hit after the United States announced fresh sanctions.

Higher-than-expected quarterly revenues at Oslo-listed TGS Nopec, a key supplier to the oil industry, boosted its share price, which soared more than 15 per cent. The oil and gas sector gained overall as oil hit US$70 (RM271.20) a barrel yesterday, in its biggest two-day rally in nearly a month.

New developments in mergers and acquisitions also moved shares.

French payments firm Ingenico rose 7.1 per cent after US competitor Verifone <PAY.N> agreed to be taken private for US$2.58 billion in cash by Francisco.

Bayer rose 4.7 per cent after the WSJ reported that the US Justice Department would allow the German drugs and pesticides group to acquire Monsanto in a US$62.5 billion deal, after the companies agreed to sell more assets to win antitrust approval.

LVMH rose 4.9 per cent to record highs after the Louis Vuitton owner posted better-than-expected sales growth in the first quarter, helped by thriving Chinese demand for luxury goods. Its solid update boosted shares in other luxury companies such as Kering , up 3.2 per cent. — Reuters

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