The eurozone’s main stock markets found higher ground yesterday in subdued deals, with many investors away for the Easter holiday break.
The European single currency meanwhile bobbed back above $1.31, while the pound edged higher, in turn holding back London’s share market.
“European equity markets are subdued on the back of a strong finish on Friday,” said analyst David Madden at CMC Markets UK.
“It seems likes investors are taking a breather, and the lack of volatility in Asia overnight prompted some dealers to sit on their hands.”
Sentiment was partly supported by comments from US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who said he was “hopeful we’re getting close to the final round of concluding issues” in trade talks with China.
The remarks were picked up as another positive sign that the trade war between the world’s top two economies, which helped hammer global markets last year, could be nearing an end.
“Steven Mnuchin issued a positive statement about US-China trade talks over the weekend, and he claimed the negotiations are ‘close to the final round’ – and that is adding to global feel good factor,” Madden added.
Investors set aside last week’s concerns about a possible new trade war between the US and the EU after President Donald Trump threatened to hit the bloc with tariffs over subsidies to aviation giant Airbus.
They were given a boost yesterday when the EU member countries gave the final green light to begin new trade talks with the US.
Wall Street was a touch lower shortly after the New York opening bell.
Stock markets on both sides of the Atlantic had pushed higher on Friday after major United States banks JP Morgan and Wells Fargo reported earnings ahead of analysts’ expectations.
Yesterday, however, lacklustre earnings from Goldman Sachs reminded investors that surprises can also be on the downside.
“US stocks are diverging in early action, with the markets scrutinising earnings results from Dow member Goldman Sachs and Citigroup as earnings season continues to heat up,” said Charles Schwab analysts.
Asia traded mixed yesterday, though investors remain upbeat thanks to a healthy start to the US earnings season and hopes for China-US trade talks.
Dealers noted that, for once, Brexit was not hogging the headlines this week due to Britain’s Parliament being shut for the Easter holiday until April 23.
Britain’s Conservative government will resume talks with the main Opposition Labour party next week on how to resolve the deadlock over Brexit, a senior minister said on Sunday.
Prime Minister Theresa May’s effective deputy, David Lidington, said they wanted to be able to “take stock” of any progress when parliament returns.
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