Flags of the European Union (EU) fly outside EU’s new Europa building in Brussels, Belgium. (Photographer: Jasper Juinen/Bloomberg)

Europe Shares Rise on Trade Hopes, Capping Worst Year Since 2008

(Bloomberg) -- European shares gained on optimism that China and the U.S. may resolve their trade conflict, capping a year that’s set to post the biggest decline in a decade.

The Stoxx Europe 600 index climbed 0.2 percent in early trading on Monday, trimming its annual drop to 13 percent. With hopes over trade rising again, much battered cyclical sectors led gains, with resources stocks posting the steepest advance.

Europe Shares Rise on Trade Hopes, Capping Worst Year Since 2008

A dreadful year is ending on a slightly more hopeful note after U.S. President Donald Trump reported “big progress” in trade talks with his Chinese counterpart. Italy’s budget conflict with the European Union is also drawing to a close with the nation passing its budget on Sunday after reaching a truce with Brussels.

Keeping optimism in check, cracks in Italy’s governing coalition may usher an early election in 2019. Data released Monday also showed China’s manufacturing gauge dropped into contraction territory in December, adding fuel to fears of an economic slowdown.

Trading in Europe will end earlier on Monday. Markets in Germany, the Nordics and Switzerland are closed.

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