European Stocks Edge Higher as Cyclical Sectors Take the Lead

European stocks inched higher, notching up a second day of gains, as talks over a post-Brexit trade deal continued and the U.S. Federal Reserve came into focus.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index closed up 0.3%, with cyclicals including automakers and miners leading the gains while retail and health care fell. Carmakers were boosted by Volkswagen AG after its supervisory board disarmed an internal conflict that’s been brewing for weeks. AstraZeneca Plc slumped for a second day following its agreement to buy Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc. for $39 billion.

The European Union’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, told a private meeting of ambassadors that a trade deal with the U.K. could be completed as soon as this week, but there are still significant differences to be bridged. Meanwhile, several countries in Europe face tougher restrictions as cases of the coronavirus surge.

In the U.S., the Federal Open Market Committee is starting its two-day meeting with investors expecting more clarity on the Fed’s bond-buying program tomorrow. “We do not expect the Fed to change the direction of its monetary policy significantly in December,” DWS Investment economist Christian Scherrmann wrote in a note.

European Stocks Edge Higher as Cyclical Sectors Take the Lead

Among other individual companies, Credit Suisse Group AG’s shares rose 1.4% after the bank said business at its investment bank was doing well in the fourth quarter, though warned it risks missing a key profit target next year.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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