European Markets Rally as Auto Stocks Jump 3%

European stocks were higher Thursday morning, as hopes over a softening in U.S. trade rhetoric boosted the autos sector, CNBC reports. The pan-European Stoxx 600 was up around 0.6 percent during mid-morning deals, with most sectors and major bourses in positive territory.

Autos stocks led the gains Thursday, up more than 3.6 percent amid news German carmakers were now prepared to support an elimination of EU tariffs on cars imported from the U.S. The U.S. ambassador to Germany reportedly told German car executives that President Donald Trump would suspend threats of charges on autos imported from the EU if the bloc also annulled tariffs on U.S. cars.

The news comes after the U.S. president had said he wanted to impose a 20 percent import tariff on all EU-assembled vehicles last month. Shares of Daimler, BMW and Volkswagen — whose bosses were all reported to have met with Ambassador Richard Grenell on Wednesday — jumped over 3 percent Thursday morning.

U.S. stock index futures ticked higher on Thursday, as signs that Washington may ease back on plans for tariffs on European cars pushed automakers higher across the board, offsetting further signs of tension with China, Reuters adds.

An industry source told Reuters on Thursday that the U.S. ambassador to Germany had told German car bosses President Donald Trump could abandon his threatened tariffs in exchange for concessions. Shares of European automakers rose, with New York-listed shares of Fiat gaining 6.0 percent in premarket trading. Ford climbed 0.9 percent and General Motors rose 1.6 percent.

The Trump administration’s tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese imports are due to go into effect at 0401 GMT on Friday and Beijing said it would respond in equal measure on U.S. goods ranging from cars to soybeans the instant U.S. measures go into effect.

The escalating trade dispute between the world’s largest two economies have roiled financial markets since early March, reducing the S&P 500’s gains for the year to just 1.5 percent, and pushing the Dow Jones Industrial Average into negative territory. At 7:37 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 160 points, or 0.66 percent. S&P 500 e-minis were up 18.25 points, or 0.67 percent and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 53.5 points, or 0.76 percent.

The U.S. Federal Reserve is also set to release minutes from its June 12-13 policy meeting at 2:00 p.m. ET, where it raised interest rates for a second time this year and flagged that more are likely. Market participants, while looking for clues on the U.S. central bank’s thinking on monetary policy and inflation, will also be hoping for signs of improvement in private sector job numbers.

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