European markets higher as autos gain; US politics eyed; Fiat Chrysler up 2.7% – CNBC

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European markets were higher Friday as prices in the U.S. and Asia stabilized after a heavy sell-off in recent sessions.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 was trading up 0.42 percent at lunchtime in Europe with all sectors and major bourses in positive territory.

While gains were spread across sectors, autos were among the top performers on Friday as embattled Italian carmaker, Fiat Chrysler, rebounded from the previous session. Reports emerged on Thursday that the U.S. Justice Department is poised to file a civil lawsuit against the firm for selling over 100,000 vehicles that emit excess diesel emissions. However, shares were up over 2.7 percent on Friday.

Europe’s food and beverages sector also pushed higher on news of an incoming CEO at Swiss food business firm, Aryzta. The bakery goods maker announced Friday that Kevin Toland is set to join the company from airport operator DAA. As a result, the Zurich-based firm’s shares jumped over 4 percent.

Meanwhile, U.K. based drugmaker, Hikma, dropped to the bottom of the European benchmark shortly after Friday’s open. The London-based company said its full-year revenue would be around $2 billion, which was reflective of delays in the launch of its generic asthma drug. Its shares slipped 5 percent.

On the other end, the Spanish lender Banco Popular hit the top of the European markets, up by nearly 6 percent. This followed news that the Spanish government doesn’t intend to inject public funds into the bank, increasing pressure on the lender to merge.

President Donald Trump‘s abrupt dismissal of former FBI chief James Comey last week sparked political turmoil which ultimately led to Wall Street’s biggest sell-off in over eight months on Wednesday.

However, the Justice Department’s appointment of ex-FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel to investigate alleged ties between Russia and Trump’s election campaign team appeared to soothe investor concerns and supported Wall Street in Thursday’s session.

Trump is scheduled to embark upon his first foreign trip since taking office as Saudi Arabia welcomes the visiting U.S. president at a regional summit.

Meanwhile, polls have opened in Iran’s presidential election where President Hassan Rouhani is bidding for a second term in office.

Elsewhere, the Greek parliament passed new austerity measures on Friday aimed at unlocking debt relief from Athen’s creditors. The new legislation was supported by all of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ coalition to get across the line.

On the data front, flash euro area consumer confidence for May is scheduled to be released at around 3 p.m. London time.

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