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European markets rally amid earnings; China trade data beats expectations; Convatec shares tumble 18%

Sam Meredith
  • The pan-European Stoxx 600 was up around 0.3 percent during mid-morning trade, with most sectors and major bourses in positive territory.
  • China reported stronger-than-anticipated trade data on Thursday, offering a welcome relief to investors concerned about a global economic downturn.
  • Lawmakers in the U.K. are set to debate and vote on the next steps in the Brexit process later in the session.

European stocks were higher on Thursday morning, amid a flurry of earnings results, while market participants anxiously wait on any signs of progress in the latest round of U.S.-China trade talks.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 was up around 0.3 percent during mid-morning trade, with most sectors and major bourses in positive territory.

Europe's industrials stocks led the gains during early morning deals, up over 1.3 percent amid earnings news. France's Airbus AIR-FR was one of the top sectoral performers, after the company announced stronger-than-anticipated fourth-quarter results. Europe's largest aerospace group also said it was scrapping its flagship A380 cruiseliner . Shares of the Paris-listed stock rose more than 4 percent on the news.

Looking at individual stocks, Germany's Gerresheimer GXI-DE surged to the top of the European benchmark on Thursday morning. The medical equipment maker said it was "back on the growth path" after reporting fourth-quarter results, prompting shares to advance over 10 percent.

Britain's Convatec CTEC-GB slumped to the bottom of the index during morning deals. The catheter and colostomy bag maker reported adjusted operating profit had slipped 6 percent in 2018. It said the risk of a no-deal Brexit had prompted the group to stockpile appropriately to deal with any potential supply disruptions. Shares of Convatec tanked almost 20 percent.

Meanwhile, lawmakers in the U.K. are set to debate and vote on the next steps in the Brexit process later in the session.

It comes as Prime Minister Theresa May continues to try to get a deal through Parliament, with time running out before the country leaves the European Union next month.

Global trade

Market focus is largely attuned to global trade developments, with U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Trade Representative Robert Lighthizier in China for high-level negotiations.

President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that talks were "going along very well," with both sides trying to resolve a long-running dispute before a March 1 deadline.

Officials in Washington and Beijing had previously said they were hopeful a new round of trade talks, which began at the start of the week, could bring both sides closer to a comprehensive deal.

Meanwhile, Beijing reported stronger-than-anticipated trade data on Thursday, offering a welcome relief to investors concerned about a global economic downturn.

China reported exports advanced 9.1 percent in January on a year earlier, defying expectations, while imports slipped 1.5 percent.

In Asia, MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares, excluding Japan, dipped 0.3 percent.



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