Wednesday 3 April 2019 2:03 pm

European stock markets rise ahead of US-China trade talks

European stock markets rose today as markets reacted well to upcoming US-China trade talks, and took heart in a growing Eurozone service sector and better-than-expected retail sales.

Read more: Global stocks rise with investors optimistic about US-China trade talks

Germany’s benchmark Dax index was the biggest climber, rising 1.2 per cent by 1.30pm UK time, following data that showed the country’s service industry leading growth in the Eurozone.

In a sign that positive noises coming from US-China trade talks was pushing up stock markets, industrial companies with links to China were the biggest risers on the German stock market.

The Eurostoxx 50 index had risen 0.8 per cent, while CAC 40, a benchmark French index, had climbed 0.6 per cent by 1.30pm.

The stronger pound, which had risen 0.3 per cent against the dollar by 1.30pm, held back the UK’s FTSE 100 index which had risen 0.2 per cent. The FTSE 250 had risen 0.8 per cent, however, despite data on the services sector being worse than expected.

Markets were buoyed by imminent the fact that talks to end the tariff war between the US and China begin again today, and a Financial Times report that said most issues had been settled.

European stock markets also responded to data released today by IHS Markit which showed that the Eurozone’s services sector had beaten predictions in March, with the purchasing managers’ index (PMI) rising to 53.3, indicating good growth.

Retail sales in the single currency bloc also rose faster than expected in February, at 2.8 per cent year-on-year, data released today showed.

Asian stocks also rallied last night ahead of the crucial trade talks today. China’s benchmark Shanghai composite index rose 1.2 per cent, while Japan’s Nikkei climbed one per cent.

Fiona Cincotta of City Index said: “The US and Chinese trade negotiators have reportedly managed to resolve some of their most contentious issues and are close to a resolution in the months-long trade talks between the two countries.”

Read more: Eurozone services sector grows faster than expected

“Although the details of the agreement have yet to be made public Asian stock markets rallied across the board with the Chinese indexes leading the way.”