LONDON: European stock markets closed higher on Tuesday (Nov 12), helped by speculation that US President Donald Trump will postpone a tariffs decision on European-made cars.
"Speculation that President Trump will defer making a decision whether to slap tariffs on EU vehicle imports this week has boosted sentiment in European equity markets," said David Madden, analyst at CMC Markets UK.
"The Trump administration has softened its stance in relation to the EU in recent months, which has been a factor in the rally in European stocks."
After postponing such measures in May, Trump was to decide by mid-November whether to impose the supplementary tariffs on cars built in EU countries - a step particularly feared by big German automakers.
The outgoing president of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker last week said he believed the US would not impose new tariffs on imported European cars in the coming days.
'RECENTLY INCREASED OPTIMISM'
On Wall Street, equities also ticked higher in morning business, with analysts reporting hopes for an equally softer Trump stance on trade with China when he speaks at the New York Economic Club at 1700 GMT.
"The markets continue to focus on the recently increased optimism regarding a US-China 'phase one' trade agreement," Charles Schwab analysts said.
Earlier in Asia, Hong Kong's main stocks index closed up 0.5 per cent after heavy losses.
Traders moved cautiously, however, after stocks plunged more than two percent Monday when the city was wracked by some of the worst violence seen during months of protests, with one person shot and another set on fire.
The city remains on edge - with sporadic protests taking place on Tuesday - while the US expressed "grave concern" over the situation in Hong Kong and called for restraint by security forces and protesters.
"It is still very unclear what can de-escalate the situation," said National Australia Bank's Tapas Strickland.
"Nevertheless, for as long as Beijing gives Hong Kong latitude to deal with the protests, it is likely the unrest will only have an isolated impact on financial markets."
In foreign exchange deals on Tuesday, the pound retreated against the dollar a day after winning support from news that the Brexit party would not run against UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Conservatives in hundreds of seats at next month's general election.
Key figures around 1640 GMT:
London - FTSE 100: UP 0.5 per cent at 7,365.44 points (close)
Frankfurt - DAX 30: UP 0.7 per cent at 13,283.51 (close)
Paris - CAC 40: UP 0.4 per cent at 5,919.75 (close)
EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.4 per cent at 3,712.20
Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.8 per cent at 23,520.01 (close)
Hong Kong - Hang Seng: UP 0.5 per cent at 27,065.28 (close)
Shanghai - Composite: UP 0.2 per cent at 2,914.82 (close)
Pound/dollar: DOWN at US$1.2847 from US$1.2855 at 2100 GMT
Euro/pound: DOWN at 85.74 pence from 85.83 pence
Euro/dollar: DOWN at US$1.1015 from US$1.1033
Dollar/yen: UP at 109.13 yen from 109.05 yen
Brent North Sea crude: UP 0.2 per cent at US$62.28 per barrel
West Texas Intermediate: UP 0.4 per cent at US$57.08 per barrel