European stocks close mixed amid hopes for Brexit trade deal; UK banks jump


European stocks are set to open higher in a light trading session as traders grew optimistic a Brexit trade deal would be reached.

Britain’s FTSE 100 is seen climbing 38 points to 6,530, France’s CAC up 15 points at 5,552 and Italy’s FTSE MIB up 93 points at 22,074, according to index data from IG. German markets are closed for Christmas Eve.

Britain and the European Union are said to be on the cusp of striking a post-Brexit trade deal on Thursday. It comes after months of political wrangling over key sticking points such as fisheries.

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is due to speak with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen at around 7 a.m. London time. Johnson is then expected to hold a news conference an hour later.

In Asia, stocks were mostly higher as investors watched the latest Brexit developments. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.5%.

On Wall Street, stock futures rose ahead of the final trading day of the holiday-shortened week.

President Donald Trump vetoed a sweeping defense bill Wednesday, breaking the Republican-led Senate. The move came after he called Congress’ long-delayed $900 billion coronavirus relief package an unsuitable “disgrace.”

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