LONDON – European markets opened on Wednesday as investors hoped a Brexit trade deal could be reached amid concerns over the approval of a long-delayed US coronavirus stimulus package.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 index rose 0.5% during morning trades, with car stocks rising 1.6% to drive gains. Healthcare stocks have declined by around 0.3%.
On Tuesday, the EU’s chief negotiator for Brexit, Michel Barnier, said the bloc was making a “final push” to conclude a Brexit trade deal with Britain, but disagreements over fishing rights remained. There have been positive reports of talks, with Robert Peston of ITV claiming that an agreement could be reached on Wednesday.
United States President Donald Trump on Tuesday suggested he could not sign the $ 900 billion Covid bailout bill passed by Congress earlier this week. Trump called the move an “shameful” and urged lawmakers to make a number of changes, including higher direct payments to individuals and families.
In Asia, stocks were higher, despite Trump’s remarks. The largest MSCI index of Asia-Pacific equities outside Japan rose 0.6%.
On Wall Street, stock futures changed slightly overnight, recovering largely from previous declines after Trump expressed concern about the new Covid aid package.
Back in Europe, France reopened its border with England on Wednesday, urging passengers arriving at the border to have a negative coronavirus test. It comes after France imposed a ban on the transport of people and goods from the UK, amid concerns about the seemingly rapidly spreading Covid strain first identified in the south-east of England.
Concerns about the economic impact of Britain’s new crackdowns aimed at limiting the spread of the new strain of coronavirus, as well as the ongoing uncertainty of Brexit, have recently influenced investor sentiment.
Travel and leisure activities received a boost from news that France lifted its travel restrictions on Wednesday. The parent company British Airways IAG has grown by 3% to lead the sector.
In terms of individual shares, Daimler rose 3% to the top of the Stoxx 600 following a report from Handelsblatt that the German carmaker intends to list its truck business.
At the European benchmark, Games Workshop fell by almost 2%, while the tableware supplier HelloFresh fell by almost 3%.