Stocks

Merger Talk Drives up Oil Services Providers As European Markets Cling to Gains

European stock markets are clinging to gains on Friday as investors keep a close eye on trade talks between the U.S. and China.

European stocks were facing a weekly loss, though optimism over global trade talks were providing some support. Merger talk for oil service providers lifted shares of Saipem and Subsea 7.

European stock markets were headed for the first weekly loss in six as investors kept a close eye on trade talks between the U.S. and China and the banking sector logged losses.

After a drop of around 0.4% on Thursday, the Stoxx Europe 600 slipped 0.1% to 403.72. The index is facing a loss of 0.4% this week, which would mark its first weekly loss in six.

Equities gained in Asia and Dow industrial futures rose after White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow said a Sino-American trade deal was close.

Shares of Norway-listed Subsea 7 rose after Bloomberg reported, citing sources, that Italy’s Saipem may be considering a combination with its oil-service rival. Shares of Saipem also rose. A spokeswoman for Subsea 7 declined to comment, while Saipem didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from MarketWatch.

Banks were a drag on the Stoxx Europe 600. Shares of SEB sank 12% after the bank said it had been contacted by a Swedish TV channel, which said it would air a program about money laundering that will include information concerning the Swedish group.

“SEB will evaluate any information that might be shown in the TV program and will compare that with SEB’s own analyses and previously handled cases. SEB has received questions from Sveriges Television, but has no further knowledge of the content of the program,” the bank said in a statement on its website.

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