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Europe close: Stocks finish higher as trade tensions ebb a little

By Alexander Bueso

Date: Thursday 13 Jun 2019

Europe close: Stocks finish higher as trade tensions ebb a little

(Sharecast News) - European stocks finished the session on the front foot thanks to a slightly more constructive tone from the White House overnight, despite reports of suspected attacks against two tankers in the Gulf of Oman.
Overnight, the US President opted not to set a hard deadline for making further progress in trade talks with Beijing before levying tariffs on all Chinese exports to the US.

Donald Trump reportedly said "I have no deadline. My deadline is what's up here. We'll figure out the deadline. Nobody can quite figure it out."

Commenting on the reports from the Gulf of Oman, IG's Chris Beauchamp said: "News this morning has bee dominated by reports of damage to oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman. The number of attacks in the region is on the rise, with today's reports coming a day after explosions on board Iranian vessels.

"Geopolitical concerns are now front and centre, although the cause of today's explosions is yet to be identified."

By the end of trading, the benchmark Stoxx 600 was ahead by 0.16% to 380.33, alongside a rise of 0.44% to 12,169.05 for the German Dax and an advance of 0.82% to 20,630.75 for Milan's FTSE Mibtel.

Shares of Basic Resources companies did best, with the corresponding Stoxx 600 gauge adding 1.22% to 378.23, with another sub-index linked to Oil&Gas companies ending the session up by just 0.17%, having paced early gains.

Italian issues benefitted from remarks by one of the country's deputy prime ministers, Luigi di Maio, who said that Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and economy minister Giovanni Tria had a "full mandate" to negotiate with Brussels in order to avoid an excess deficit procedure.

Back in the oil patch, according to TradeWinds, the Front Altair tanker was hit by three explosions off the coast from Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates early on Friday morning, with one of those leaving a "large hole" just above the waterline.

A second tanker, the Kokuka Courageous reportedly suffered a "suspected attack" that also breached the hull above the waterline.

Reacting to the news, front month Brent crude oil futures climbing 2.03% to $61.19 a barrel on the ICE.

Back on the corporate front, 1&1 Drillisch was a top gainer after making off with a 5G licence in Germany's spectrum auction.

On the economic front, the market spotlight was on the Swiss National Bank, where rate-setters opted to keep official short-term interest rates at -0.75%, as expected.

Pointing to downside risks to the economy, "highly valued" franc and "fragile" foreign exchange market, SNB Governor Thomas Jordan said an expansive monetary policy remained necessary and reiterated the monetary authority's willingness to intervene in FX Markets if needed.

In parallel, Eurostat reported a 0.5% month-on-month drop in Eurozone industrial production for April (consensus: -0.3%), although in year-on-year terms output was down by 0.4%, as expected.


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