Europe: Stocks close at five-month high amid trade and Brexit optimism

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European shares closed at their highest level in five months on Friday as investors cheered positive signs on US-China trade talks and UK lawmakers’ vote to request a delay in a potentially chaotic exit from the European Union (EU).

The pan-European STOXX 600 was up 0.7 per cent, its biggest gain in a month, and ended the day at its highest level since Oct 4. All major bourses were in positive territory, led by Paris’s CAC 40, up 1 per cent.

London’s FTSE 100 rose 0.6 per cent, lifted by heavyweight oil and mining stocks that were boosted by higher metals and crude prices. Germany’s trade-sensitive DAX was up 0.85 per cent.

Turnover picked up on Friday after being generally in line with long-term averages in recent sessions – STOXX 600 volume was almost double its 90-day average as investors rushed to position themselves ahead of another critical Brexit week.

The mood was boosted by growing expectations that Britain will not leave the European Union on March 29 without a deal to minimise economic disruption following Thursday night’s parliamentary votes.

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