Trade tensions weigh on European markets

International trade worries put a damper on the London Stock Exchange on Tuesday, as reports emerged that Beijing is not expecting to reach a trade deal with the US.

Sources in the Chinese government told broadcaster CNBC they had been troubled by comments from US President Donald Trump that there was no agreement to roll back tariffs between the countries.

The FTSE 100 closed the day up 0.22%, after a lacklustre rise on Monday.

The index reached 7,323.8 points.

“The major indices of Europe are mixed today as the trade spat has come to a standstill. The US-China trade situation remains in centre stage, and there doesn’t appear to be a clear way out of the deadlock,” said David Madden, an analyst at CMC Markets.

“The Trump administration has granted permission to US companies to continue dealing with Huawei for another 90 days, which is a token gesture but it shows goodwill nonetheless.”

France’s Cac index closed down 0.35%, while the Frankfurt exchange Dax rose 0.11%.

Sterling fell 0.18% against the dollar to 1.2928, while against the euro it fell 0.31 to 1.1661.

In company news, easyJet has relaunched its package holiday business as it looks to increase customer numbers following the collapse of major competitor Thomas Cook.

It made the announcement as it reported diving profits despite record passenger numbers in the year to September, as it was impacted by “some weakness in consumer confidence”.

The board of TSB Bank lacked “common sense” in the lead-up to a major IT meltdown that locked two million people out of their accounts, a damning report has found.

An independent investigation by law firm Slaughter and May has concluded that the lender’s board should have done more to challenge bosses in charge of the systems upgrade last April.

The £4 billion takeover of UK defence giant Cobham has moved a step closer after the Government said it is considering giving the all-clear to the deal with US private equity firm Advent.

Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom said she is “minded to accept” legally binding undertakings from the proposed buyer, which would allow the sale to go through.

International oil standard Brent crude fell 1.8% to 61.35 dollars.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Halma, up 160.5p to 2,059.00p, Intertek Group, up 196p to 5,502.00p, NMC Healthcare, up 90p to 2,594.00p, Smiths Group, up 46p to 1,658.50p, and Spirax-Sarco, up 215p to 8,550.00p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Ferguson, down 146p to 6,740.00p, SSE, down 20.5p to 1,316.00p, Persimmon, down 38p to 2,474.00p, Centrica, down 0.98p to 73.56p, and JD Sports, down 10p to 760.00p.