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European Shares Mostly Higher; FTSE 100 Dips As Pound Climbs

stockmarkets aug17 13sep19 lt

European stocks were moving higher on Friday, although U.K. markets remained subdued as the pound sterling pushed higher against all currencies on speculation the British government could be softening its red lines on the so-called Northern Irish backstop.

The pan European Stoxx 600 was up 0.1 percent at 390.78 after rising 0.2 percent in the previous session.

The German DAX and France's CAC 40 index were up around 0.4 percent, while the U.K.'s FTSE 100 was losing 0.1 percent.

Underlying sentiment was underpinned after the European Central Bank slashed interest rates for the first time since 2016 and unveiled a sweeping stimulus package to boost growth in the ailing euro zone.

Roche Holding rose 0.9 percent after it reported positive data from a primary progressive MS (PPMS) study.

German lender Deutsche Bank rallied 2.5 percent after it became the first of 16 financial services companies to resolve bond-rigging lawsuits concerning the prices of bonds issued by U.S. enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Commerzbank jumped 4.3 percent, BNP Paribas climbed 2.5 percent and Societe Generale advanced 1.9 percent, a day after the ECB eased the terms of its long-term loans to banks.

Tariff-sensitive automakers were also broadly higher after U.S. President Donald Trump said he could consider an interim trade deal with China ahead of high-level negotiations in October.

In the mining sector, Anglo American, Antofagasta and Glencore rallied 2-3 percent.

AstraZeneca dropped 1 percent, Diageo declined 2.7 percent and British American Tobacco tumbled as much as 3 percent as the pound advanced against all rivals.

British lender Lloyds Bank climbed 2.3 percent and Barclays soared 3.2 percent as Brexit concerns ease. Housebuilder Barratt Developments advanced 2.8 percent and Taylor Wimpey gained 2.9 percent.

In economic releases, the euro area trade surplus increased in July on higher exports, data from Eurostat showed.

The trade surplus rose to a seasonally adjusted EUR 19 billion from EUR 17.7 billion in June. Exports grew 0.6 percent in July from June, while imports remained stable.

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