February 12, 2019 / 9:01 AM / 7 days ago

European shares rise on trade talks optimism; Michelin inflates autos

LONDON (Reuters) - European shares closed higher on Tuesday as investors cheered positivity around U.S.-China trade talks and signs of a compromise to avoid another U.S. government shutdown, while Michelin’s results pumped up automotive stocks.

Pedestrians pass the London Stock Exchange in London, Britain August 15, 2017. REUTERS/Neil Hall

The pan-European STOXX 600 was up 0.5 percent, with Germany’s trade-sensitive DAX advancing 1 percent and Paris’ CAC 40 up 0.8 percent.

Automakers and their suppliers were the biggest gainers, up 2.9 percent after Michelin delivered better than expected results and pledged further gains in operating profit this year despite challenging conditions.

The French tire maker’s shares rallied 13 percent for their best day in nearly a decade.

Italy’s Pirelli and Germany’s Continental were among the biggest gainers in their domestic markets and on the STOXX 600.

London indices underperformed their euro zone peers as the pound rose slightly after a parliamentary address by British Prime Minister Theresa May, in which she asked for more time to secure a Brexit deal.

Gucci owner Kering was another winner, with its shares turning positive in mid-morning trade as investors took comfort from upbeat comments on the first-quarter outlook.

Its shares had fallen as much as 3.3 percent in early trade as better than expected sales initially failed to impress investors in a sign of the demanding expectations for luxury brands after solid numbers from the sector, including LVMH last week. The shares closed with a 3.3 percent gain.

Thyssenkrupp fell 2 percent after a mixed earnings report. The German steel-to-elevator company stood by its 2018/19 targets but reported a big drop in first-quarter results and warned that the global economic environment is darkening.

Investors continued to punish TUI as the tour operator reported a widening loss in the three months to Dec. 31. Shares fell another 5.4 percent after its profit warning last week.

Online trading platform Plus500 lost about 30 percent of its value after the company issued a profit and revenue warning, blaming tightening EU regulation on its retail business. The news dragged peer IG with it.

Credit Suisse said it was shifting to a “neutral” stance on global equities, taking profit on its “overweight” view.

“While we continue to expect overall attractive total returns from global equities this year, we recognize certain mounting short-term risks,” it said.

“In particular, we note that investors remain thin-skinned after last December’s correction.”

Furthermore, the U.S.-China trade conflict could lead to renewed volatility while growing political tensions in Italy, France and Germany and the still uncertain Brexit outcome could weigh further on European stocks, the bank said.

Reporting by Josephine Mason and Julien Ponthus; Editing by Keith Weir and David Goodman

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