European markets higher amid trade optimism

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European markets traded higher on Tuesday as traders monitor the latest U.S.-China trade developments.

European Markets: FTSE, GDAXI, FCHI, IBEX

The pan-European Stoxx 600 rose 0.3% in early trade, healthcare stocks adding 0.6% to lead gains while autos shed 0.5%.

Traders were largely focused on news around the U.S.-China trade spat. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Monday that talks between Washington and Beijing would resume in two weeks.

The U.S. finance official appeared to be contradicted publicly by President Donald Trump earlier in the day. Mnuchin said that last week’s visit from Chinese officials had been cut short on the request of U.S. officials, to which Trump responded “why?”

In Asia, markets were in mixed territory amid weak Japanese manufacturing data. A key index showed the country’s factory activity shrank at its fastest pace in seven months in September.

Back in Europe, investors will likely monitor a U.K. court case that will determine whether Prime Minister Boris Johnson acted unlawfully by suspending parliament weeks before the Oct. 31 Brexit deadline. Sterling struggled for direction, trading barely higher versus the dollar.

In corporate news, Belgian brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev priced the initial public offering of its Asian business at HK$27 a share, the bottom of an indicative range, sources told CNBC. The move means the firm will raise up to $5 billion in the float.

On the data front, Germany’s Ifo is set to release business sentiment figures later in the morning.

Stocks on the move

Royal Mail shares fell 4.3% in early trade after Liberum downgraded the company’s stock to sell. British merchant bank Close Brothers saw its stock slide 3.9% after reporting a fall in annual profit and the departure of its CEO Preben Prebensen.

The biggest winner in the Stoxx 600 was Belgian materials technology company Umicore, which gained 5.8% after announcing a supply deal with LG Chem.

German drug company Evotec climbed 4% after announcing a strategic drug discovery collaboration with Takeda.

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