European stocks rallied on Monday morning, with market participants looking ahead to a fresh round of U.S.-China trade talks this week.
Looking at individual stocks, Deutsche Post rose toward the top of the European benchmark after a report suggested Germany could grant the postal services firm with a higher-than-anticipated increase in postage for letters from the summer. Shares of Deutsche Post advanced 2 percent.
Meanwhile, Britain’s Smith & Nephew slumped to the bottom of the index after the Financial Times reported the London-listed company was in talks to buy NuVasive. Shares of Smith & Nephew fell almost 4 percent.
On the data front, official figures published Monday showed Britain’s economy grew at its slowest pace since 2012 last year. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth in the final three months of 2018 slipped to a quarterly rate of 0.2 percent from 0.6 percent in the previous quarter.
The quarterly GDP figures follows a flurry of economic data in recent weeks that suggest businesses and consumers are increasingly nervous about Britain’s departure from the European Union next month. Sterling was trading 0.4 percent lower at $1.2900 on the news.
Both sides are trying to secure a comprehensive trade agreement ahead of a March 1 deadline when U.S. tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports are scheduled to increase to 25 percent from 10 percent.
Escalating tensions between the world’s two largest economies have cost both countries billions of dollars and roiled global financial markets.
In Asia, Chinese shares whipsawed on Monday after they resumed trading following a week-long Lunar New Year holiday. The blue-chip index rose 0.4 percent, though trading volumes were still expected to be light with Japan on a public holiday.
MSCI’s broadest-index of Asia-Pacific shares, excluding Japan, was around 0.1 percent lower.