Europe Markets: DAX on track for another record as Bayer rises on deal news

European stocks rose Friday, as Bayer AG shares gained on news the German conglomerate has reached a multibillion-euro deal to sell parts of its business, putting the DAX on track for another record close.

Mining stocks advanced after upbeat import data from major metals consumer China.

What stocks are doing: The Stoxx Europe 600 index SXXP, +0.29%   added 0.3% to 391.55, led by the basic materials, oil and gas and telecom sectors. But health care and financial shares were losing the most.

On Thursday, the pan-European benchmark closed fractionally higher and was on track Friday to rise 0.5% for the week.

Miners boosted: The Stoxx 600 Basic Resources Index SXPP, +1.53%  leapt 1.5% on Friday as shares of mining companies marched higher. The moves came after a report showed Chinese imports rose 18.7%, beating forecasts, as exports also grew. China is a major buyer of industrial and precious metals.

Shares of ArcelorMittal SA MT, +3.99%  jumped 2.7%, Rio Tinto PLC RIO, +1.56%  added 1.3%, and Glencore PLC GLEN, +0.99%  bulked up 0.8%.

“Seasonal factors helped to boost year-on-year trade growth last month. But there are also hints of a real pick-up in domestic demand, perhaps due to efforts to shore up activity ahead of the Party Congress,” said Julian Evans-Pritchard, China economist at Capital Economics, in a note.

Communist Party officials will meet in Beijing on Oct. 18 for the high-profile, week-long 19th Party Congress, where they will reveal plans for the economy.

Stock movers: Bayer AG BAYN, +1.32%  was up 1.2% after BASF SE BAS, -0.19%   said it has reached an agreement to buy significant parts of Bayer’s seed and herbicide businesses for 5.9 billion euros ($6.99 billion). BASF shares slipped 0.6%.

GKN PLC shares GKN, -8.02%  dropped 6.9%. The engineering group said Friday its third-quarter margin performance was lower than a year ago, mainly because of operational challenges in its North American aerospace division.

Provident Financial PLC PFG, +11.91%  rallied 16% after the lender said its Vanquis Bank division delivered good growth in the third quarter and was upbeat on prospects for its Satsuma online loans unit. Provident, which is battling problems in its doorstep-loans unit, confirmed it won’t pay a full-year dividend for 2017.

In the currency market, the euro EURUSD, -0.0085%  traded at $1.1844, up from $1.1832 late Thursday in New York.

Subdued regional benchmarks: Germany’s DAX 30 index DAX, +0.10% was up 2 points at 12,985.25, after closing at a record high on Thursday. France’s CAC 40 index PX1, +0.04%  slipped 2 points to 5,358.34.

In London, the FTSE 100 index UKX, -0.20%  fell 0.3% to 7,531.78, under pressure as the pound GBPUSD, -0.0075%  climbed above $1.33 for the first time in nearly two weeks. Sterling rose after German newspaper Handelsblatt late Thursday reported that the European Union may offer a two-year Brexit transition deal to Britain.

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