March 29, 2019 / 8:42 AM / 21 days ago

European stocks higher on trade optimism; H&M surges

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March 29 (Reuters) - European shares broadly rose on Friday, helped by upbeat signs on U.S.-China trade talks and a surge for the world’s second biggest apparel retailer H&M after it topped expectations for quarterly results.

The pan-European index gained 0.4 percent by 0833 GMT, eyeing its smallest monthly rise this year but still on course for its best quarterly performance in four years.

All major European indexes rose, with France’s CAC outperforming with a 0.9 percent rise while Germany’s trade-sensitive DAX was up 0.6 percent.

Swedish-based H&M was the top advancer with a 14.7 percent gain after reporting a smaller than expected fall in fiscal first-quarter pretax profit.

One of the continent’s biggest travel firms Tui AG, however, sank 9 percent in both Frankfurt and London after it said it would take a 200 million euro ($225 million) hit to profit in 2019 due to the grounding of Boeing’s 737 MAX aircrafts.

Deutsche Telekom fell over 5 percent, dragging the telecom index lower after Credit Suisse downgraded its stock to “neutral” from “outperform”.

The global mood, however, was positive, with Asia stock markets rising after U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he had a “productive working dinner” in Beijing, kicking off meetings between the world’s two largest economies.

The focus is yet again on Britain’s parliament, which will hold a special sitting on Friday to discuss and vote on Prime Minister Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement.

Britain’s exporter-heavy FTSE 100 was up 0.7 percent while Dublin’s ISEQ, which typically moves on Brexit related news, gained 0.6 percent.

Goldman Sachs said if May’s agreement was rejected on Friday, the bank saw a significant increase in the chance of a long extension and a “fundamental” Brexit renegotiation on the basis of new, softer, options, along with a “substantial” increase in the likelihood of a snap election. (Reporting by Medha Singh and Agamoni Ghosh in Bengaluru; Editing by Alison Williams)

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