European shares edge higher, M&A boosts insurers

Reuters December 6 | Updated on December 06, 2019

Pedestrians walk by the bull and bear sculpture in front of the Frankfurt stock exchange. -- Reuters

European shares inched higher on Friday as comments from the US President Donald Trump that trade talks with China were “moving right along” helped inject some calm into the markets after a rocky week.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.3 per cent by 0819 GMT, with banks, technology firms and retail companies leading the gains.

M&A activity boosted insurers after Phoenix Group Holdings Plc said it would buy the British insurance unit of Swiss Re in a cash-and-shares deal worth 3.2 billion pounds ($4.1 billion). Swiss Re AG shares rose 2.8 per cent, while Phoenix Group was up 1.6 per cent.

Despite Friday's gains, the STOXX 600 was on track to post its biggest weekly decline in two months after conflicting headlines on trade and weak euro zone economic indicators made for a volatile trading session.

Fresh numbers showed Germany's industrial output unexpectedly dropped in October, reviving worries about its economic growth outlook. Frankfurt-listed shares rose 0.2 per cent.

Published on December 06, 2019

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