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European shares gain as U.S.-China trade talks trigger relief

Stock MarketsJan 04, 2019 05:55AM ET
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© Reuters. The German share price index DAX graph at the stock exchange in Frankfurt

By Helen Reid

LONDON (Reuters) - News that Beijing and Washington would hold talks over their ongoing trade war boosted European shares on Friday, after a gloomy week during which a rare revenue warning from Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) caused havoc.

Stocks sensitive to developments in the trade war, such as carmakers, industrials, and mining companies, led the gains. Bank shares also rallied after China announced the trade talks would be held on Jan. 7-8.

"We're not expecting a major breakthrough on Jan. 7-8; that said, where equity markets are in terms of valuations ... there’s room for markets to be positively surprised," said Edward Park, deputy chief investment officer at Brooks Macdonald.

"With price-to-earnings of 14 on the S&P 500 and 11 in Europe and emerging markets, a lot of bad news is priced in."

Mining companies (SXPP) jumped 3 percent, the top gainer as copper prices recovered thanks to the trade talks. Autos (SXAP) rose 2.7 percent and banks (SX7P) 2 percent.

Europe's STOXX 600 (STOXX) rose 1.3 percent. Germany's DAX jumped 1.7 percent and the leading euro zone index (STOXX50E) gained 1.4 percent.

Oil stocks (SXEP) also rallied 2.3 percent after news of the China-U.S. trade talks boosted crude prices more than 1 percent.

Oil services TGS Nopec (OL:TGS), Subsea 7 (OL:SUBC), Aker BP (OL:AKERBP), Saipem (MI:SPMI), and TechnipFMC (PA:FTI) climbed 4.8 to 5.2 percent, making them the top STOXX gainers.

Outside trade-related moves, Bayer (DE:BAYGn) shares climbed 4.1 percent to top the DAX (GDAXI). A ruling by a U.S. judge could restrict evidence favouring the plaintiffs in lawsuits alleging Bayer's glyphosate-based weed killer causes cancer.

Tech stocks (SX8P), which plunged 4 percent after Apple’s revenue warning, rose 1.3 percent on Friday.

Chipmaker AMS (S:AMS), which provides the facial recognition technology used in the latest iPhone, rose 3 percent - a hesitant recovery after Thursday’s 23 percent plunge.

ProsiebenSat 1 (DE:PSMGn) shares fell 5.9 percent after Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) cut its price target on the stock, in a negative note on European TV highlighting rising competitive pressure from subscription video on demand platforms.

Analysts at the U.S. banks said they saw the greatest downside at ProsiebenSat1 and Mediaset . ITV was the only stock where they saw upside. They highlighted increased costs from a requirement to invest to bolster competitiveness.

Mediaset (MI:MS) and ITV (L:ITV) shares were down 1.4 percent.

As the fourth-quarter results season approached, analysts remained pessimistic about European earnings. They have cut earnings forecasts continuously since September 2018.

Brooks Macdonald's Park said he is slightly overweight on equities, expecting an economic slowdown but not a contraction.

"If we're going to see moderate growth in 2019 but nothing too exciting, are market participants willing to be outside risk assets for that entire time?"

European shares gain as U.S.-China trade talks trigger relief

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