Delayed London Stock Exchange - 06/22 05:35:05 pm

EUROPE MARKETS: European Stocks Dip Ahead Of Potential Trade Tension At G-20 Gathering

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03/17/2017 | 11:23 am

By Carla Mozee, MarketWatch

Stoxx 600 on track for weekly rise

European stocks moved slightly lower Friday, but hovered around their highest levels in more than a year, with investors turning attention to the meeting of Group of 20 finance officials in Germany.

The Stoxx Europe 600 index was off 0.1% at 377.36, with only the financial, oil and gas and consumer services sectors showing gains. The benchmark on Thursday ended 0.7% higher and marked its best finish since December 2015, according to FactSet data.

The pan-European benchmark is set to end the week higher by 1.1%, a second weekly rise in three weeks. Part of that push came Thursday after Dutch voters rebuffed Geert Wilders's far-right party in a general election.

G-20 gathering: Investors will watch for developments beginning Friday from the G-20 meeting of finance ministers and central bankers from the world's largest economies in Baden-Baden.

"The big overhang here is [U.S. President] Donald Trump's intentions over global trade. There has been no shortage of talk about border taxes and even the threat in isolation has been sufficient to repatriate some jobs to the US, but the detail is still unknown and this has the potential to create a tense atmosphere," said Tony Cross, market analyst at TopTradr, in a note.

"It is perhaps the clues this meeting may hold over future US trade deals that will provide the most meaningful direction," he said.

Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel may discuss trade matters when they meet for the first time at the White House in Washington on Friday.

The euro on Friday was buying $1.0774, up from $1.0768 late Thursday in New York. The euro advanced after Ewald Nowotny, governor of the Austrian National Bank, told Handelsblatt newspaper that the European Central Bank could raise its deposit rate ( before the prime rate. The deposit rate currently stands at negative 0.4%.

Movers: Tullow Oil PLC (>> Tullow Oil plc) shares sank 15% as the oil and gas exploration company proposed a rights issue to raise $750 million .

Airbus Group SE shares (>> Airbus Group) fell 1.2% after France's financial-crimes investigator started a preliminary investigation into alleged wrongdoing at the European plane maker over potential corruption.

Berkeley Group Holdings PLC shares (>> Berkeley Group Holdings PLC) rose 5.4%, topping the Stoxx 600 after the home-builder said its pretax profit for fiscal 2017 will be at the top end of analysts' expectations . The company also said it's started to build fewer homes in London, citing Brexit uncertainty as reason for a fall in reservations.

Barclays PLC (>> Barclays PLC) (>> Barclays PLC) picked up 1.2% after Morgan Stanley raised its ratings on the lender to overweight from equal-weight.

Indexes: Germany's DAX 30 index declined 0.1% to 12,069.72, and France's CAC 40 added 0.2% at 5,027.346.

The FTSE 100 was fractionally lower at 7,413.48 after Thursday's record-high close.

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