Europe Markets: European stocks inch higher, set for first weekly gain in three

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Europe’s main stock gauge moved higher on Friday, setting up for its first positive weekly close in three, as relief over the global trade picture helped drive appetite for riskier assets such as equities.

What are markets doing?

The Stoxx Europe 600

SXXP, +0.19%

 rose 0.2% to 377.04, after Thursday’s loss of 0.2%.

For the week, the pan-European gauge was so far up 0.9%, but down just over 3% year to date.

Germany’s DAX 30

DAX, +0.23%

 was up 0.3% to 12,087.49, while France’s CAC 40

PX1, +0.25%

 added 0.3% to 5,343.03. The U.K.’s FTSE 100

UKX, +0.20%

 was flat at 7,284.76.

The euro

EURUSD, +0.0428%

traded at $1.1717 from $1.1691 late Thursday, while the pound

GBPUSD, +0.1221%

was changing hands at $1.3126 from $1.3109.

What is driving the market?

Europe stocks took inspiration from a largely positive session across Asia, and an upbeat one in the U.S. on Thursday. The S&P 500

SPX, +0.53%

 marked its fourth-straight gain, driven by tech stocks.

Growing upbeat sentiment surrounding global trade were also helping to underpin gains. A fresh round of trade talks could take place later this month after the White House reportedly extended an invitation to Chinese officials. As well the Turkish central bank’s move to bolster its currency on Thursday also helped foster some appetite for risk.

Economic data from the U.S. will swing into focus in the afternoon, with retail sales for August in the spotlight, along with a consumer sentiment survey.

In the U.K., Brexit was in the headlines again after Bank of England Gov. Mark Carney reportedly told Prime Minister Theresa May and her cabinet on Thursday that a no-deal exit from the European Union would cripple the country’s economy.

Don’t miss: A top London startup’s CEO flags the biggest Brexit threat to his industry

What are strategists saying?

“Encouraging news that Trump’s administration seeks to start negotiating with China again to resolve their trade differences is helping investors’ sentiment,” said Konstantinos Anthis, head of research at ADS Securities, in a note to clients.

Stock movers

Shares of Investec PLC

INVP, +8.81%

 surged 8%, the best performer in the Stoxx Europe 600 after the investment bank said it would spin off and separately list its asset-management unit.

Ryanair Holdings PLC

RY4C, +1.19%

rose 1.8%. The airline said it was close to reaching a collective labor agreement with its Italian-based cabin crew.

Providing critical information for the U.S. trading day. Subscribe to MarketWatch’s free Need to Know newsletter. Sign up here.

Barbara Kollmeyer is an editor for MarketWatch in Madrid. Follow her on Twitter @bkollmeyer.

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