© Reuters.

By Geoffrey Smith

Investing.com — Europe’s stock markets are looking to end the week on a positive note, despite the entry into force of new U.S. tariffs on Chinese imports, although they’re still on course for their worst week so far in 2019.

At 04:00 AM ET (0800 GMT), the benchmark was up 3.3 points, or 0.9% at 378.90, with the Swiss leading the way up 1.1%, while the German was up 0.9% and the was lagging slightly, up 0.6%.

The strength of the German market was explained by a surprise rise in in March, which offered some reassurance that the traditional motor of Europe’s largest economy may be starting to emerge from its weak start to the year.

The second supporting factor was a 9% surge in industrial giant Thyssenkrupp (DE:), which has reportedly abandoned its plans to split into two and merge its loss-making steelmaking division with Tata Steel.

Instead, according to Reuters’ sources, the company is now considering a new approach, involving a holding structure and a carve-out or partial listing of its elevators division. Thyssenkrupp has yet to confirm the news. It’s been the worst-performing stock in the DAX, down over 47% in the last 12 months even after this morning’s rebound.

Elsewhere, International Airlines Group (LON:), the parent group of British Airways and Iberia, is heading both the FTSE and after upholding its guidance for the full year after a torrid quarter for airlines.

The company also updated with passenger numbers for April which showed the group’s two discount airlines Vueling and Level continuing to grow strongly, while chief financial officer Enrique Dupuy told a conference call that BA’s key transatlantic routes were also performing well. At the time of writing, the company hadn’t addressed speculation that it may revive its bid for struggling discount carrier Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA (OL:).

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