Europe finishes on a high note despite escalating trade concerns; Galapagos soars 17.5%

On Wall Street, stocks opened little changed after a fall in semiconductor shares, as well as ongoing trade concerns, dampened gains.

China on Tuesday requested permission from the World Trade Organization (WTO) to sanction the United States. This comes after President Donald Trump announced Friday that Washington could impose further trade tariffs against Beijing. Chinese President Xi Jinping has since promised to fight protectionism together with Russia.

Back in Europe, investors were also tracking Brexit news. Pro-Brexit members of the ruling Conservative Party called for cooperation between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic on Wednesday. The plea is intended to avoid the creation of a hard border between the two countries.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said in his last State of the Union speech Wednesday that the European Union stands ready to work “day and night” to find an agreement with the U.K. over Brexit.

Elsewhere, Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank are reportedly increasingly open to the prospect of merging. According to the German magazine De Spiegel, Commerzbank is ready to merge now, whereas Deutsche is unlikely to look for a merger in the next 18 months.

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