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Europe: Stocks rise on new trade talks; ECB, BoE decisions approach

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[LONDON] European stocks rose on Thursday as investors traded hesitantly before European Central Bank and Bank of England meetings, while trade-sensitive autos and mining shares gained on news of new talks between the US and China.

The pan-European STOXX 600 rose 0.2 per cent by 0722 GMT, with Germany's DAX up 0.3 per cent.

Mining shares climbed 0.9 per cent and autos rose 0.7 per cent, the best-performing sectors, after US officials invited China to new trade talks, which the Chinese foreign ministry welcomed.

Investors were waiting for decisions from the ECB and the BoE, particularly for any details on the ECB's plans to halve its asset purchases and – from the BoE – any comments on Brexit negotiations.

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Dealmaking and results led to some strong stock moves. French bank Natixis gained 4.9 per cent to top the STOXX after it decided to sell several specialized finance businesses to its parent, BPCE, and use part of the 2.7 billion euros (S$4.31 billion) in proceeds for acquisitions.

Commerzbank shares topped the DAX, rising 2.1 per cent, after news Deutsche Bank was considering an overhaul to loosen the bond between its retail and investment banks, making it easier to merge some or all of the group with rival lenders.

Electrical components supplier Rubis fell as much as 14 per cent after reporting disappointing first-half profit. German meal delivery firm Delivery Hero also suffered a 4.3 per cent drop after its first-half results.

French tyre maker Michelin rose 2.3 per cent after it confirmed its 2018 financial outlook, saying signs of growth in Europe and North America would offset a slowdown in China .

Among UK stocks, Morrisons fell 1.9 per cent despite forecast-beating profits for the first half.

Small-cap Debenhams tumbled 6.8 per cent after Sports Direct ruled out a bid for the department store operator .

Adyen shares fell 8.7 per cent after the company placed 2.46 billion shares.

REUTERS