Europe Markets: European stocks inch higher with trade talks, Fed chair in focus

European stocks inched into the green on Wednesday, as investors looked ahead to a trade meeting between the U.S. and China and a highly anticipated speech by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell.

How are the markets performing?

The Stoxx Europe 600

SXXP, +0.26%

fell 0.2% to 358.10, after closing up 0.2% on Tuesday.

The German DAX

DAX, -0.16%

 was flat at 11,318.69, the French CAC

PX1, +0.25%

 rose 0.2% to 4,993.85 and the FTSE Italy index

I945, +0.11%

rose 0.1% to 19,131.72. The FTSE 100

UKX, +0.10%

 dipped 0.1% to 7,009.66.

The pound

GBPUSD, +0.2903%

 rose to $1.2791 from $1.2745 late in New York on Tuesday and the euro

EURUSD, -0.1417%

was mostly unchanged at $1.1294.

What is driving stocks?

European investors were keeping a close eye on geopolitical events, notably a meeting planned for U.S. President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping of China at the G-20 summit in Buenos Aires this weekend. Trump economic adviser Larry Kudlow said Tuesday that there was a good possibility for a deal but also that the White House was disappointed in the Chinese response so far.

U.K. banks were watching out for the Bank of England’s Brexit stress test results, which will reveal banks resilience to various Brexit scenarios. Those results are due after the close of U.K. markets.

What stocks are active?

In the energy sector, BP PLC

BP, +0.30%

BP., -0.40%

 fell 1.3% and Royal Dutch Shell Group PLC

RDS.A, +0.26%

RDSA, -0.28%

 dropped 1.2%.

Among banks, another weak sector, Holdings PLC

HSBC, -0.14%

HSBA, -0.31%

 fell 1%, while in the consumer goods sector, Reckitt Benckiser Group PLC

RB., -1.39%

 fell nearly 3%, while Unilever PLC

ULVR, +0.45%

ULVR, +0.45%

 dropped 0.7%.

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