US payrolls, OPEC and US-China trade in focus

US payrolls, OPEC and US-China trade in focus

European stocks closed higher Friday as investors digested a better-than-expected nonfarm payrolls report from the U.S.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed provisionally over 1% higher with every sector in the black. Sentiment was boosted after data showed the U.S. economy added 266,000 jobs in November. Economists polled by Dow Jones expected a gain of 187,000.

Looking at individual stocks, the insurer Swiss Re also traded higher after announcing that it is selling its British unit to Phoenix Group Holdings for £3.2 billion ($4.1 billion). Shares were up 3%.

Meanwhile, Glencore shares had initially dropped following a Wall Street Journal report that the mining company is being investigated in a U.K. bribery probe. But the stock later rose almost 2% amid the broader rally among equities.

Weak German data

Stock markets are also following news on the U.S.-China trade front. President Donald Trump said Thursday that trade talks with China were “moving right along,” according to Reuters.

Earlier this week, the U.S. president said that it might be better to wait until after the presidential election in November of next year to finish a trade deal with Beijing. Meanwhile, spokespersons for the Chinese government have avoided commenting on the prospects of a trade deal.

Oil prices rose on Friday as energy ministers from some of the world’s largest oil producers agreed to deepen recurring production cuts by an additional 500,000 barrels per day through to March 2020.

The new deal, which is much larger than many analysts had expected, will see OPEC and its non-OPEC allies reduce total crude output by 1.7 million barrels per day.

At around 3 p.m. in London, Brent futures were $1.14 cents, or 1.8% higher, at $64.53. West Texas Intermediate oil futures rose 97 cents, or 1.66%, to $59.40 a barrel.

On the data front, Germany’s industrial output dropped unexpectedly in the month of October. Industrial output fell 1.7% against a market expectation of a 0.1% increase in activity. In France, data on Friday showed a drop of 4.73 billion euros in its trade deficit.

In the U.K., the leaders of the Conservative and Labour parties are set to have their final TV debate Friday ahead of the December 12 election. In France, a general strike is carrying on to a second day as public sector workers protest against changes to the pension system.

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