European stock markets closed higher on Tuesday, helped by speculation that US President Donald Trump will postpone a tariffs decision on European-made cars.

“Speculation that President Trump will defer making a decision whether to slap tariffs on EU vehicle imports this week has boosted sentiment in European equity markets,” said David Madden, analyst at CMC Markets UK.

“The Trump administration has softened its stance in relation to the EU in recent months, which has been a factor in the rally in European stocks.”

After postponing such measures in May, Trump was to decide by mid-November whether to impose the supplementary tariffs on cars built in EU countries — a step particularly feared by big German automakers.

The outgoing president of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker last week said he believed the US would not impose new tariffs on imported European cars in the coming days.

– ‘Recently increased optimism’ –
On Wall Street, equities also ticked higher in morning business, with analysts reporting hopes for an equally softer Trump stance on trade with China when he speaks at the New York Economic Club at 1700 GMT.

“The markets continue to focus on the recently increased optimism regarding a US-China ‘phase one’ trade agreement,” Charles Schwab analysts said.

Earlier in Asia, Hong Kong’s main stocks index closed up 0.5 percent after heavy losses.

Traders moved cautiously, however, after stocks plunged more than two percent Monday when the city was wracked by some of the worst violence seen during months of protests, with one person shot and another set on fire.

The city remains on edge — with sporadic protests taking place on Tuesday — while the US expressed “grave concern” over the situation in Hong Kong and called for restraint by security forces and protesters.

“It is still very unclear what can de-escalate the situation,” said National Australia Bank’s Tapas Strickland.

“Nevertheless, for as long as Beijing gives Hong Kong latitude to deal with the protests, it is likely the unrest will only have an isolated impact on financial markets.”

In foreign exchange deals Tuesday, the pound retreated against the dollar a day after winning support from news that the Brexit party would not run against UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservatives in hundreds of seats at next month’s general election.

– Key figures around 1640 GMT –

London – FTSE 100: UP 0.5 percent at 7,365.44 points (close)

Frankfurt – DAX 30: UP 0.7 percent at 13,283.51 (close)

Paris – CAC 40: UP 0.4 percent at 5,919.75 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.4 percent at 3,712.20

New York – Dow: UP 0.2 percent at 27,735.37

Tokyo – Nikkei 225: UP 0.8 percent at 23,520.01 (close)

Hong Kong – Hang Seng: UP 0.5 percent at 27,065.28 (close)

Shanghai – Composite: UP 0.2 percent at 2,914.82 (close)

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.2847 from $1.2855 at 2100 GMT

Euro/pound: DOWN at 85.74 pence from 85.83 pence

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1015 from $1.1033

Dollar/yen: UP at 109.13 yen from 109.05 yen

Brent North Sea crude: UP 0.2 percent at $62.28 per barrel

West Texas Intermediate: UP 0.4 percent at $57.08 per barrel