Dealers in London 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 (MOHD RASFAN)

London (AFP) – Europe’s main stock markets found higher ground Monday in subdued deals, with many investors away for the Easter holiday break.

London won 0.1 percent approaching midday, while Frankfurt gained 0.3 percent and Paris added 0.2 percent heading into the afternoon.

The European single currency meanwhile bobbed back above $1.31.

“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.”

– ‘Feel good factor’ –

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 European Union after President Donald Trump threatened to hit the bloc with tariffs over subsidies to aviation giant Airbus.

They were given a boost on Monday when the EU member countries gave the final green light to begin new trade talks with the US.

Stock markets on both sides of the Atlantic had pushed higher on Friday after two major US banks JP Morgan and Wells Fargo reported earnings ahead of analysts’ expectations.

Asia traded mixed on Monday, though investors remain upbeat thanks to a healthy start to the US earnings season and hopes for China-US trade talks.

– Brexit-free week –

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 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.

“With House of Commons in recess for the Easter break, the coming week is unlikely to be dominated by Brexit, thankfully, to the same extent as weeks gone by — with the focus for the UK markets shifting to a series of economic releases,” said XTB analyst David Cheetham.

British employment data is due Tuesday, followed by inflation numbers on Wednesday and retail sales figures on Thursday.

Elsewhere, traders raced out of the blocks, boosted by data last week showing a sharp jump in credit growth in China as easing measures kick in, while exports beat expectations and inflation perked up.

New York’s three main indexes provided a positive lead after JP Morgan recorded a pick-up in profits, suggesting the economy remains in rude health and fuelling optimism for upcoming corporate reports.

– Key figures around 1145 GMT –

London – FTSE 100: UP 0.1 percent at 7,446.19 points

Frankfurt – DAX 30: UP 0.3 percent at 12,029.42

Paris – CAC 40: UP 0.2 percent at 5,515

EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.2 percent at 3,455.11

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.3106 from $1.3074 at 2100 GMT on Friday

Euro/pound: DOWN at 86.31 pence from 86.40 pence

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1312 from $1.1299

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 111.95 yen from 112.02 yen

Tokyo – Nikkei 225: UP 1.4 percent at 22,169.11 (close)

Hong Kong – Hang Seng: DOWN 0.3 percent at 29,810.72 (close)

Shanghai – Composite: DOWN 0.3 percent at 3,177.79 (close)

New York – Dow: UP 1.0 percent at 26,412.30 (close)

Oil – Brent Crude: DOWN 60 cents at $70.95 per barrel

Oil – West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 56 cents at $63.33


Disclaimer: Validity of the above story is for 7 Days from original date of publishing. Source: AFP.