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Investors monitor reports of US-China trade relief

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The pan-European Stoxx 600 was up around 0.8 percent shortly after the opening bell, with almost all sectors and major bourses in positive territory. The European benchmark hit its highest level since December 5, according to Reuters.

Autos and basic resources were among the top gainers. Both sectors are sensitive to trade news.

Market focus is largely attuned to global trade developments, after the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin proposed lifting all or some of the tariffs on Chinese imports. The goal is to push forward trade talks and get China’s support for longer-term reform.

U.S. stocks rallied on the news but pared some of those gains after a senior government official told Imagala.com that Mnuchin had not made any such recommendations.

Furthermore, European banks were also in positive territory after some ratings upgrades. This was the case for Banco Sabadell, up by about 3 percent after HSBC rose the stock to ‘Buy’, as well as Commerzbank, which was also up by 3 percent.

On the other hand, Telecom Italia dropped to the bottom of the index, down by more than 8 percent. The company said Friday that it expects domestic earnings to fall compared to 2017.

Ryanair dropped nearly 3 percent after giving its second profit warning in three months, Reuters reported. The company said that lower-than-expected winter fares were impacting its full-year profit.

The euro area is expected to publish current account figures for November at around 9:00 a.m. London time. The International Energy Agency (IEA) is scheduled to release its closely-watched oil market report at the same time.

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