European stocks advance amid cooling US-Iran tensions


European stocks are set to open higher Thursday as investor sentiment improved on the back of easing U.S.-Iran tensions.

Britain’s FTSE 100 is seen climbing 24 points to 7,590, Germany’s DAX rising 87 points to 13,401 and France’s CAC increasing 31 points to 6,055, according to IG index data.

It comes after comments from President Donald Trump which served to ease panic over rising tensions in the Middle East. Trump said Wednesday that Tehran “appears to be standing down” following missile strikes on Iraq airbases housing U.S. troops in retaliation to the killing of Iran’s top military general, Qasem Soleimani.

Trump added Washington would “immediately impose additional punishing economic sanctions on the Iranian regime” and called on U.S. allies including Britain, Germany and France to withdraw from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and work to form a new agreement.

Separately, a report out Wednesday said two rockets hit the Green Zone in Baghdad, a day after the Iran retaliatory attacks. But Iraq’s military reportedly said there were no casualties.

In Asia, MSCI’s broadest index of Asian shares excluding Japan surged 1% amid the de-escalation in U.S.-Iran tensions.

Back in Europe, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Wednesday that the U.K. would find it “basically impossible” to negotiate all aspects of its future relationship with the EU by the end of 2020. The bloc’s recently appointed leader also said the relationship between the two countries “cannot and will not be the same as before.”

In corporate news, Tesco is due to release a third-quarter trading statement Thursday. As for economic data, German factory output figures for November are due out at 7 a.m. London time.

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