LONDON: European stock markets rose on Thursday (Nov 7), boosted once more by hopes of a China-US trade deal, with some looking to December for an accord between the two economic superpowers.
The pound slipped meanwhile on talk that a Bank of England rate cut could be in the pipeline after the central bank downgraded its growth outlook.
Bank chiefs meeting on Thursday nonetheless left its main rate unchanged for now.
London equities closed only a touch higher, but equity markets elsewhere rose more solidly, along with oil prices, after China said it had agreed with the United States on a plan to gradually remove each other's tariffs, fuelling hopes they can resolve a trade war that has roiled the global economy.
TRADE FATIGUE? SURELY NOT
Broad optimism that the US and China would soon complete part one of a wider agreement has been the basis of a rally in global equities for several weeks.
"What trade promise fatigue?", asked Edward Moya, an analyst with Oanda.
"Financial markets remain determined to climb higher as global equities were boosted after China's Commerce Ministry spokesman Gao Feng noted that both sides had agreed to simultaneously cancel some existing tariffs on one another's goods," he said.
Eurozone stocks were well in the black at the close, as was Wall Street in the late New York morning, helped by US weekly jobless claims coming in lower than expected.
The new appetite for risk, favouring stocks, weighed on the bond market however.
As a result, the yield on the French 10-year government bond which had gone negative in June, returned into positive territory on Thursday.
The Bank of England's rate decision, which was not unanimous, sparked speculation that easier rates are coming, analysts said.
"Two members preferred a 25 basis point cut in bank rate at this meeting," the bank's statement said. The pair judged that "some extra stimulus was needed".
The central bank also upgraded its UK growth forecast to 1.4 per cent in 2019 but downgraded 2020 guidance to 1.2 per cent.
"Given the political uncertainty ahead of next month's election it is not at all surprising that the central bank has decided to refrain from any change in policy, but the calls from some members for rate cuts come as something of a surprise and have caused an adverse reaction in the pound," said David Cheetham at xtb.
Earlier on Thursday, the Conservative government cancelled a planned release of its own updated economic forecasts just one hour before publication had been due.
"This will no longer go ahead as the Cabinet Secretary has concluded that this would not be consistent with the Cabinet Office's general election guidance," the Office for Budget Responsibility said in a statement.
Key figures around 1640 GMT:
London - FTSE 100: UP 0.1 per cent at 7,406.41 points (close)
Frankfurt - DAX 30: UP 0.8 per cent at 13,289.46 (close)
Paris - CAC 40: UP 0.4 per cent at 5,890.99 (close)
EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.5 per cent at 3,706.68
Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.1 per cent at 23,330.32 (close)
Hong Kong - Hang Seng: UP 0.6 per cent at 27,847.23 (close)
Shanghai - Composite: FLAT at 2,978.71 (close)
Pound/dollar: DOWN at US$1.2824 from US$1.2855 at 2100 GMT
Euro/pound: UP at 86.15 pence from 86.09 pence
Euro/dollar: DOWN at US$1.1046 from US$1.1066
Dollar/yen: UP at 109.29 yen from 108.98 yen
Brent North Sea crude: UP 1.2 per cent at US$62.50 per barrel
West Texas Intermediate: UP 1.8 per cent at US$57.36 per barrel