August 24, 2018 / 8:01 AM / a month ago

European shares steady as trade talks prompt caution

LONDON (Reuters) - European shares were steady on Friday as investors were cautious after the latest round of U.S.-China trade talks yielded no breakthrough.

The German share price index DAX is seen at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, August 23, 2018. REUTERS/Staff/Remote

The pan-European STOXX 600 ended the session up 0.1 percent, in a thinner-than-usual market in terms of volume.

“Markets are not very directional today,” wrote ActivTrades analyst Pierre Veyret, noting that “the U.S. and China have disappointed investors”.

U.S. and Chinese officials ended two days of talks on Thursday with no major breakthrough, following the implementation of a fresh round of tariffs.

The STOXX 600 also gave up some gains immediately after the Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said that more rate hikes were likely if the U.S. economy stayed strong.

Miners, banks and cars led gainers.

Autos .SXAP rose 0.6 percent, after being among the worst-performing sector earlier in the week since a surprise profit warning from tyre maker Continental, which added to ongoing concerns around tariffs.

Basic materials .SXPP rose 1.5 percent as London copper prices jumped. Antofagasta (ANTO.L) was a top gainer, rising 3.6 percent.

Irish construction company Kingspan (KSP.I) was among the top performers, with its shares jumping 9.3 percent in what was its best day in a year after first half results.

Shares in Danish medical equipment maker (AMBUb.CO) recovered from a 12 percent fall on Thursday following a disappointing trading update and were up 9.5 percent.

Britain’s Shire (SHP.L) added more than 2 percent after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a drug to treat patients suffering from hereditary angioedema, a hereditary disease that causes swelling in different parts of the body.

Among smaller companies, Swiss semiconductor maker U-Blox (UBXN.S) sank nearly 18 percent after it cut its guidance for the year, with traders flagging its China business as particularly disappointing.

Reporting by Julien Ponthus, Helen Reid and Kit Rees; Editing by Susan Fenton

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