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Europe: Shares bounce as trade deal hopes lift risk appetite
[LONDON] European shares rose on Wednesday as optimism over talks between the United States and Canada reinvigorated risk appetite, though the FTSE came under pressure from a rise in sterling.
The Stoxx 600 index ended the session up 0.3 per cent.
The United States and Mexico agreed on Monday to overhaul the Nafta trade association, while investors waited to see if Canada would accept a revised deal.
Canada and the US are set to tackle their issues in talks on Wednesday.
However, some market watchers were cautious in their expectations, given the ongoing trade tensions between the US and China.
"The agreement between the US and Mexico has not put worries about President Trump's trade policy to bed. The deal is more protectionist than the status quo, and Canada is not included," economists at Capital Economics said in a note.
"Despite the US compromising a bit with Mexico, we are not holding out much hope of a ceasefire with China any time soon."
Britain's FTSE 100 came under pressure from a rise in sterling, however, and ended the session down 0.7 per cent.
Comments from the European Union's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier that the bloc was prepared to offer Britain an unprecedentedly close relationship after it quits the EU sent the currency higher, in turn weighing on the FTSE 100 and its predominantly US dollar-earning constituents.
Among individual stocks, Germany's RTL gained more than 2 per cent after reporting forecast-beating growth in second quarter revenues and core earnings.
Shares in Spain's Inditex, however, dropped 5.7 per cent after Morgan Stanley rated the Zara owner "underweight" for the first time.
France's Ingenico was also under pressure, losing more than 6 per cent. One trader cited competition between Amazon and the French company on mobile payments in Asia.
Micro Focus, the British software company, added 2.9 per cent after it started a share buy-back programme.
Among small caps, Sinclair Pharma surged around 35 per cent after agreeing to an offer from China's Huadoing.