European shares hit record in countdown to Christmas

European shares hit record in countdown to Christmas
European shares hit record in countdown to Christmas

European stocks ground out fresh record gains on Tuesday inthin trading ahead of Christmas with investors optimistic about global growthheading into 2020 amid progress in U.S.-China trade talks, Reuters reported.

In an early close for markets, the pan-European STOXX 600index added 0.12% to touch an all-time high, while France's CAC 40 and Spain'sIBEX 35 were little changed.

Domestically focused mid-cap shares in Britain outshonetheir European peers again with a 0.6% rise to hit a new record, while theblue-chip index clung to a five-month high.

With only a week left for 2019 to close, European shares areon course to log their best gains in a decade as two of the biggest risks toglobal growth – a prolonged Sino-U.S. trade war and a disorderly exit forBritain from the European Union – eased over the past few weeks.

Following the landslide Dec. 12 election victory for PrimeMinister Boris Johnson's Conservatives, Britain now looks certain to leave theEU on Jan. 31 with a withdrawal deal that includes a transition period lastinguntil the end of 2020.

However, investors are concerned about the outcome next yearof post-Brexit negotiations to establish the UK's future trade relationshipwith the EU, as Johnson's hard line could eventually raise the risk of no deal.

In thin corporate news, BMW said it was being investigatedby the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission over its sales reportingpractices. But with the German stock index closed for the Christmas holidays,any impact on the automaker's shares will only be evident on Friday.

Shares in BBVA slipped 0.6% after Reuters reported theEuropean Central Bank had asked Spain's High Court to provide information aboutan investigation into a spying case involving the lender.

Italian and Swiss markets were also shut on Tuesday. MostEuropean stock markets will remain closed on Dec. 25 and Dec. 26 for Christmasand Boxing Day.

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