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Aug. 21, 2018, 12:37 p.m. EDT

European stocks end higher, led by banks and pharma sectors

U.K. ends slightly lower as BHP and Rio Tinto weigh

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By Ryan Vlastelica

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European stocks closed mostly higher on Tuesday, rising for a second straight session with banks and pharmaceutical stocks leading the day’s advancers.

Despite the general uptrend on the day, U.K. stocks ended with modest losses, pressured by a decline in BHP Billiton after the company’s results. Investors were also looking ahead to comments from the U.S. Federal Reserve, which could provide insight into the outlook for monetary policy.

Where are the major benchmarks trading?

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index /zigman2/quotes/210599654/delayed XX:SXXP +1.58%  rose 0.2% to 384.15. This was the second straight day of gains for the index, although it came after three straight weeks of losses.

Italian stocks were proving the day’s best performers in Europe, with the FTSE MIB Italy index /zigman2/quotes/210598024/delayed IT:I945 +1.55%  climbing 1.5% to 20,767.73.

Germany’s DAX /zigman2/quotes/210597999/delayed DX:DAX +1.64% rose 0.4% to 12,384.49. On Monday, the index rose 1% in its biggest single-day percentage gain since July 26. That came after its third straight down week, its longest such stretch since February.

France’s CAC 40 /zigman2/quotes/210597958/delayed FR:PX1 +1.49%  jumped 0.6% to 5,413.58.

Bucking the positive tone on the day was the U.K.’s FTSE 100 /zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed UK:UKX +2.09% , which ended down 0.3% to 7,565.70, with energy and commodity names leading the move lower.

The euro /zigman2/quotes/210561242/realtime/sampled EURUSD +0.5779% extended its recent advance against the dollar, changing hands at $1.1534, compared with $1.1484 late Monday in New York. The U.S. dollar index /zigman2/quotes/210598269/delayed DXY -0.41%  is down for a fifth straight session, its longest such streak since the start of the year. Thus far this year, however, the euro is down nearly 4% against the greenback.

U.S. stocks rose on Tuesday, putting the S&P 500 within striking distance of record levels.

What’s driving the market?

In a data-light session, investors turned much of their attention to the upcoming central bank meeting in Jackson Hole, Wyo, which kicks off Thursday. Friday’s speech by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell will be particularly scoured for any insight into what the central bank sees as potential problem spots for the economy, as well as for any clues into future policy plans on interest rates. In particular, market participants will be looking to hear Powell’s thoughts on trade policy and whether the currency crisis in Turkey could spread to other emerging markets or regions.

Don’t miss: Here’s how Jackson Hole could impact the dollar, bonds and emerging markets

Separately, investors are continuing to monitor trade relations between the U.S. and its major trading partners, with talks between the U.S. and China set to resume on Wednesday. Just Monday, Trump called the eurozone, as well as China, currency manipulators once again, while also telling Reuters that he has “no time frame” for ending the trade dispute with China, and that he didn’t “expect much” from the talks. His administration is also moving forward with tariffs that cover $200 billion in Chinese goods, including some that are to take effect on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the U.K.’s top diplomat was expected to deliver a speech in Washington on Tuesday calling for fresh sanctions against Russia, urging a continued hard line, according to prepared remarks released by the embassy.

+5.78 +1.58%
Volume: 0.00
July 6, 2020 5:50p
IT : Borsa Italiana
+305.21 +1.55%
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July 6, 2020 5:36p
DX : Xetra Indices
+205.27 +1.64%
Volume: 78,193
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FR : France: Euronext Paris
+74.37 +1.49%
Volume: 88,535
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+128.64 +2.09%
Volume: 681,521
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US : Tullett Prebon
+0.0065 +0.5779%
Volume: 0.0000
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US : U.S.: ICE Futures U.S.
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