January 18, 2019 / 8:29 AM / a month ago

Trade war hopes lift European shares to early December highs

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LONDON, Jan 18 (Reuters) - European shares opened higher on Friday and reached their highest level since early December as new-found hope about the Sino-U.S. trade negotiations lifted stock markets from Wall Street to Asia.

The pan-European STOXX 600 benchmark index rose 0.9 percent by 0827 GMT with all main sectors and bourses firmly in positive territory.

Trade-exposed sensitive indexes or stocks gained the most with the automotive sector leading the pack up 1.3 percent or Germany's exporters-heavy DAX up 0.7 percent.

Among top movers, Telecom Italia dropped about 9 percent after it said it expected to report full-year organic core earnings of around 8.1 billion euros ($9.2 billion), a drop of under 5 percent compared to the year before.

Another profit warning by Ryanair also spooked investors and the low cost airline's shares dropped 4.2 percent and dragged rival easyJet fell 2 percent.

Other high-profile corporate results included French supermarket retailer Casino whose shares rose 2.7 percent as traders and analysts said the company's fourth quarter sales had shown an element of resilience to the impact from anti-government protests in France. (Reporting by Julien Ponthus; editing by Josephine Mason)

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