European stocks opened cautiously higher Thursday as markets digest conflicting messages on the possibility of a U.S.-China trade deal.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 nudged 0.2% higher at the opening bell, basic resources and banks both jumping more than 1%, while the food and beverages sector lost 0.6% in early deals.
President Donald Trump said Wednesday that a trade deal with Chinese President Xi Jinping was possible when the two meet this weekend at the G-20 summit in Osaka, but warned that he was prepared to impose tariffs on all remaining Chinese imports if talks fall through.
Asian markets rose on Thursday afternoon, led by gains in mainland China with the Shenzhen component rising 1.36% and the Shenzhen composite adding 1.171%.
Back in Europe, Spanish inflation data, Italian business and consumer confidence figures and a host of economic data for the euro area in June is set for release Thursday morning, while Germany’s inflation report is expected early afternoon.
Boris Johnson, the favorite to succeed U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May, said on Wednesday that the chances of Britain leaving the European Union without a deal are “a million-to-one” despite reiterating his promise to exit the bloc with or without a deal by October 31.
Bank of England Governor Mark Carney told the U.K. Treasury Committee that the central bank would be more likely to cut interest rates in the event of a “no-deal” Brexit.
In corporate news, Vodafone is reportedly set to secure EU antitrust approval for its $22 billion bid for Liberty Global’s cable networks in central Europe after offering concessions in May.
Meanwhile, German chemicals giant Bayer, under pressure from activist shareholders, said Wednesday that it has hired an external lawyer and set up a committee to resolve a multi-billion dollar litigation issue. The company has seen its share price tumble after its $63 billion acquisition of Monsanto brought a raft of legal issues over allegations of a glyphosate weedkiller causing cancer.