Optimism over trade, Brexit boost European shares; UBS, Swedbank fall


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    LONDON, March 15 (Reuters) - European shares rose on Friday
breaching a five-month high hit a day earlier as investors
cheered positive signals over U.S.-China trade talks and after
UK lawmakers voted to delay a potentially chaotic exit from the
European Union.
    The pan-European STOXX 600  .STOXX  was up 0.1 percent at
0826 GMT, piercing the Oct. 5 high set on Thursday and on track
for its biggest weekly gain in a month.
    All the major bourses were in positive territory, although
London's FTSE 100  .FTSE  outperformed the pack, lifted by its
heavyweight oil and mining stocks on higher metals and crude
prices. Trade-sensitive DAX  .GDAXI  was up 0.1 percent.
    The mood was also boosted by growing expectations that
Britain will not leave the European Union without a deal on
March 29 following Thursday night's parliamentary vote.
    Technology stocks  .SX8P  were the biggest gainers, up 0.6
percent, after better-than-expected results from U.S. chipmaker
Broadcom overnight and boosted by hopes that Washington and
Beijing will resolve their trade spat that has rattled financial
    Chinese Vice Premier Liu He spoke by telephone with U.S.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Representative
Robert Lighthizer, with the two sides making further substantive
progress on trade talks, Xinhua news agency said on Friday.
    The prospect of the trade talks taking longer than expected
tempered some of the gains, and there was still no clarity on
how close the two economic powers are on reaching an agreement.
    Among individual moves, shares were driven by legal dramas.
    UBS was down 1.3 percent after Switzerland's top bank said
it is bulking up its litigation provisions to deal with a French
court slapped it with a hefty penalty last month.
    Swedbank  SWEDa.ST  dropped 1.9 percent as the Danske Bank
moneylaundering scandal deepens.
    A Swedish TV programme reported that an internal report by
Swedbank dated last September showed transactions totalling more
than $10 billion between "suspicious" customers in Swedbank and
Danske Bank had been done between 2007-2015 in the Baltics.
    Wirecard  WDIG.DE  sank almost 7 percent after Citi
downgraded the German card payments company. The shares have
plunged almost 40 percent since January.

 (Reporting by Josephine Mason; Editing by Janet Lawrence)
 ((Josephine.Mason@thomsonreuters.com; +44 207 542 7695; Reuters
Messaging: josephine.mason.reuters.com@reuters.net))

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