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LIVE MARKETS-Milestones galore as Johnson's Brexit bus appears on course

* Optimism on Brexit and the trade war drive stocks higher * STOXX up 1.7%, Irish stocks jump 4% outperforming rest of Europe * Publicis sinks after results, drags WPP down * Hugo Boss shares slump 11%, pulling down Burberry Welcome to the home for real-time coverage of European equity markets brought to you by Reuters stocks reporters and anchored today by Julien Ponthus. Reach him on Messenger to share your thoughts on market moves: MILESTONES GALORE AS JOHNSON'S BREXIT BUS APPEARS ON COURSE (1244 GMT) Banks, retailers, housebuilders... oh wait it's easy this way, 85% of the constituents in the FTSE midcap index are rallying! And in the rest of Europe, DAX is indeed having its Oktoberfest rising 2%. And we're not short of milestones, here are your stats of the day: ** UK banks Lloyds, RBS, Barclays, HSBC together have added $14 billion to their combined market cap. (The FTSE 100's market cap is about $2 trillion). ** The JPM UK domestic plays index is having its best run since it was created in Jan 2017, +7.3%. To put that into context, the second-best single day gain was just 2.3% in mid-September. ** Shiny sterling is heading for its best two-day gain since mid-2016 - in fact the gains were largely in the last 24 hours. ** The FTSE 250 index is poised for its best single-day gain in more than 3 years. ** The Irish stocks are having a party, rallying 4%. The not-so-sexy ones (these would've been the top stats on a normal day): ** The FTSE 100 index is the worst performer across Europe, rising JUST 0.8% -- isn't that a small move? ** The big-fat German growth stock SAP is rising 7.8% after another blow-out quarter, but it's not even among the top 20 risers. (Thyagaraju Adinarayan) ***** LONG THE TAX CUTS, SHORT THE MONETARY FUDGE (0935 GMT) When it comes to stock markets, there's really nothing like a massive corporate tax cut to prop things up, writes Kevin Muir in this week's MacroTourist newsletter. Granted, if one compares European equities muddled in an environment of negative rates with their U.S. peers, turbocharged by Trump's fiscal stimulus, the last two years seem to unequivocally validate his point. Tax cuts are however no longer on the U.S. agenda and investors will be served Fed cuts instead. In Europe, the ECB seems entangled in an apparent endless lower-for-longer monetary cul-de-sac while a German fiscal stimulus remains an investor fantasy for now. Taking the view that "the world is starved for fiscal stimulus", Muir noted with great interest Indian shares on Sept 20 notching their best day in more an a decade after the government announced deep cuts in corporate taxes to revive flagging growth. The lesson learned from that is quite straightforward Muir believes. "Buy countries willing to engage in fiscal stimulus, sell those relying on monetary stimulus". In practice, he advocates a pretty contrarian and arguably very risky trade: "I think buying India and shorting either the US or the entire MSCI world index is a great risk reward trade". (Julien Ponthus) ***** OPENING SNAPSHOT: STOCKS RALLY DESPITE HUGO BOSS, PUBLICIS SHAMBLES (0827 GMT) It's as expected a positive start for European stocks but a few stocks are somewhat spoiling the party such as Hugo Boss which is in free fall, down about 11%, its worst performance since Feb 2016 and hitting its lowest since 2010. Kering and LVMH shares, which had a great day yesterday, are not being hit, but Burberry is feeling the heat, down 3.2%. Talking about disappointing results, Publicis is sinking 12.6% and dragging WPP with it. The British advertiser is retreating 3.8%. Among losers, Euronext is also facing heavy blows, down 4%, after unveiling a new set of financial targets. Elsewhere there's no shortage of love for SAP as the stock is rising 7.5% on a good set of results and lifting the European tech sector (+2.5%). The only big index in red is the FTSE, and that's due to the pound getting a boost from new found optimism on a possible Brexit deal. That meanwhile is boosting the Irish stocks, which is outperforming rest of Europe. (Julien Ponthus) ***** ON THE RADAR: BIG MOVES FOR PUBLICIS AND HUGO BOSS (0648 GMT) Optimism on both the trade war and the Brexit fronts is seen lifting European stock markets this morning. Futures are currently trading in the green at the exception of the FTSE which is being dragged down by the rising pound. There’s also plenty of corporate news likely to trigger sharp moves at the open such as for France’s Publicis, which had to cut its full-year sales target for a second time and has seen its rating cut by SocGen. There's a likely read-across for WPP which is also expected to suffer. After yesterday's stellar results for luxury, there could be hard landing to investors with Hugo Boss cutting its 2019 earnings forecast, citing weak demand notably in Hong Kong, a growing concern for the industry. Germany’s SAP is on the rise after it published a strong set of third-quarter results lifted by a major cloud-computing deal with its CEO standing down. In the financial industry, Jupiter reported net ouflows of 1.3 billion pounds ($1.6 billion) in the third quarter while Man Group’s assets under management fell 1.5%. In the nordics, Equinor said it would $549 million to build floating turbines to supply power to several North Sea oil and gas platforms. In what could be seen as a vote of confidence for London’s financial centre, EG Group is reported considering an IPO which could value the company at over $12.44 billion. The Renault/Nissan corporate saga is continuing to unfold with Renault's Thierry Bollore, denouncing a "coup" against him. Here are a few headlines: SAP's McDermott steps down after decade as chief salesman and dealmaker Hugo Boss cuts outlook again, citing weak U.S., Hong Kong business EG Group weighs IPO that could value co at over $12.44 bln- Bloomberg BT launches 5G smartphone plans for consumers and businesses Thyssenkrupp's top shareholder says never called for special dividend Renault board to meet, as CEO denounces potential exit as 'coup' Euronext sets new financial targets, ready for more M&A deals Italy's Ferretti IPO postponed to Oct. 15 due to weak demand Dart Group expects to exceed profit view on Thomas Cook liquidation Ray-Ban Billionaire Leonardo Del Vecchio Plans To Lift His Stake In Mediobanca Above 10%- FT Publicis CEO under pressure following second sales target cut (Julien Ponthus and Joice Alves) ***** RISK APPETITE FOR BREAKFAST (0531 GMT) There clearly are positives vibes making their way from Asia and the U.S. this morning when it comes to the U.S./trade war and that should be enough to lift European bourses at the open. Trump's willingness to meet China's top trade negotiator is fuelling optimism that progress can be achieved on an issue which has been a constant burden for investors for close to two years now. IG financial spreadbetters expect Frankfurt's DAX to open 35 points higher and Paris' CAC to rise 14 points, adding on yesterday's gains. While new found optimism on Brexit is participating to the risk-on build-up, the rise in the pound is however weighing on British blue chips which often have heavy exposures to the dollar. London's FTSE is seen opening 24 points lower. (Julien Ponthus) ***** ($1 = 0.8028 pounds) (Reporting by Danilo Masoni, Joice Alves, Josephine Mason, Julien Ponthus and Thyagaraju Adinarayan)