China trade data beats expectations, Brexit in focus


The pan-European Stoxx 600 was up around 0.4 percent shortly after the opening bell, with most sectors and major bourses in positive territory.

Europe’s industrials stocks led the gains during early morning deals, up around 1 percent amid earnings news. France’s Airbus was one of the top sectoral performers, after the company announced stronger-than-anticipated fourth-quarter results. Europe’s largest aerospace group also said it was scrapping its flagship A380 cruiseliner. Shares of the Paris-listed stock rose more than 4 percent on the news.

Looking at individual stocks, Germany’s Gerresheimer surged to the top of the European benchmark on Thursday morning. The medical equipment maker said it was “back on the growth path” after reporting fourth-quarter results, prompting shares to advance over 10 percent.

Britain’s Convatec slumped to the bottom of the index during morning trade. The catheter and colostomy bag maker reported adjusted operating profit had slipped 6 percent in 2018. It said the risk of a no-deal Brexit had prompted the group to stockpile appropriately to deal with any potential supply disruptions. Shares of Convatec tanked almost 20 percent.

Meanwhile, lawmakers in the U.K. are set to debate and vote on the next steps in the Brexit process later in the session.

It comes as Prime Minister Theresa May continues to try to get a deal through Parliament, with time running out before the country leaves the European Union next month.

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