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European markets rise on final day

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Investors headed into 2019 licking their wounds after a torrid past year. (stock picture)

Investors headed into 2019 licking their wounds after a torrid past year. (stock picture)

Irochka - Fotolia

Investors headed into 2019 licking their wounds after a torrid past year. (stock picture)

European markets advanced yesterday during the final day of trading for 2018, but the gains could do little to compensate for what has been a bruising year for investors.

An apparent softening of relationships between the US and China helped sentiment in what was a shortened trading session in Europe. US markets traded for a full day yesterday.

Volumes were thin, with German markets and the Milan bourse shut and many investors still away for the Christmas holidays.

Market mood brightened slightly after US president Donald Trump said he held a "very good call" with China's president Xi Jinping on Saturday to discuss trade and claimed "big progress" was being made.

Chinese state media were more reserved, saying the Chinese president hoped the negotiating teams could meet each other halfway and reach an agreement that was mutually beneficial.

Still, investors headed into 2019 licking their wounds after a torrid past year amid lingering worries about slowing global economic growth, trade frictions, expectations of more US interest rate increases and the UK's divorce from the European Union. Highlighting potential headaches for investors in 2019, data yesterday showed China's factory activity contracted for the first time in over two years in December, as the world's second-largest economy lost further momentum.

Ireland's Iseq Overall Index edged 0.38pc higher yesterday to close at 7,054. Glenveagh Properties rose 4pc to 71 cent. Insurance firm FBD was 3pc higher at €8.24. The UK's Ftse was flat. France's CAC-40 rose 1.1pc.

Irish Independent