European stocks traded higher in a light trading session on Thursday as traders became bullish that a Brexit trade deal would be reached.
The UK’s FTSE 100 rose 0.5% while the French CAC rose 0.3%. The German and Italian markets are closed on Christmas Eve.
UK banking stocks topped gains as traders bet that a deal will be struck soon. Lloyds was up 7%, Barclays almost 4% and Natwest over 3%.
Britain and the European Union are said to be close to signing a post-Brexit trade deal on Thursday. After months of political controversy, important sticking points such as fishing come about.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was due to speak to the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, in London around 7 a.m., the BBC reported. Johnson is expected to hold a press conference an hour later.
The pound sterling was up 0.6% against the dollar to trade around $ 1.36. The euro rose 0.2% to $ 1.22.
In Asia, stocks were mostly higher as investors watched recent developments in Brexit. The broadest MSCI index for stocks in Asia Pacific outside of Japan rose 0.5%.
On Wall Street, stock futures rose ahead of the last trading day of the week with shortened holidays.
President Donald Trump vetoed a comprehensive defense bill on Wednesday and broke the Republican-led Senate. The move came after calling the long-belated $ 900 billion coronavirus aid package from Congress an unsuitable “shame”.