European markets modestly higher as investors track U.S. stimulus prospects

  • U.S. President Donald Trump revived hopes of a stimulus deal on Thursday, telling Fox News that talks between the White House and Congress were back underway.
  • The London Stock Exchange on Friday agreed to sell Milan's Borsa Italiana stock exchange to Euronext for 4.3 billion euros ($5 billion).

LONDON – European markets edged higher Friday morning as investors monitor talks on fresh coronavirus relief package stateside.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 added 0.4% in early trade, with retail stocks adding 1.1% to lead gains as most sectors and major bourses entered positive territory.

U.S. President Donald Trump revived hopes of a stimulus deal on Thursday, telling Fox News that talks between the White House and Congress were back underway and that there was a good chance an accord could be reached.

This comes just days after the president announced via Twitter that negotiations were off until after the Nov. 3 election.

The U.S. also announced fresh sanctions on 18 banks in an attack on Iran's financial sector, attempting to cut off revenues to Tehran and ratcheting up tensions ahead of the election with Trump trailing Democratic challenger Joe Biden across national polling.

Asian markets were mixed overnight with mainland Chinese shares surging as they returned to trading following a national holiday, while U.S. futures indicated a modestly positive open on Wall Street later in the day.

Back in Europe, the U.K. economy grew 2.1% in August on a monthly basis, according to figures published Friday by the Office for National Statistics, well below analyst expectations of a 4.6% expansion as the country's recovery from the coronavirus pandemic slowed.

The London Stock Exchange on Friday agreed to sell Milan's Borsa Italiana stock exchange to Euronext for 4.3 billion euros ($5 billion).

In terms of individual price action, Pandora shares climbed more than 13% in early deals after the Danish jeweler hiked its profit guidance, while Rolls-Royce added more than 14% as investors seemingly look to pick up a bargain on the British airplane engine manufacturer's battered stock.

At the bottom of the European blue chip index, Danish insurer Tryg slipped 3.6% after its third-quarter earnings report.

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