Europe close: Shares end session moderately higher despite gains for currency

Alexander Bueso Sharecast | 19 May, 2017 19:02 | | |

screenshot 12 01 2017 13 05 37

Stocks ended the session with moderately strong gains despite another move higher for the single currency aided by dovish Fedspeak.

Against that backdrop, Greece was in the spotlight at the end of the week even as the angst around the political situation in the US over the past few days appeared to have calmed down, at least for the moment.

At the closing bell, the benchmark Stoxx 600 was up by 0.60% to 391.51, alongside gains of 0.39% for Germany's Dax which was at 12,638.69 and a rise of 1.26% for the FTSE Mibtel to 21,567.52.

"Equity indices are holding their rebound gains, albeit treading water since the European open, as investors weigh up recent market moves. Whilst not electing to take on more risk before the weekend, nor are they taking any more off the table. A positive statement in many ways, given the political headwinds in play," said Mike van Dulken, Head of Research at Accendo Markets.

In parallel, euro/dollar was wanted, rising 0.98% to 1.1212, with front month Brent crude oil futures gaining 1.80% to $53.47 per barrel on the ICE.

The former was given by a boost by remarks from St.Louis Fed chair James Bullard, who told an audience that calls for two more interest rate hikes in the States this year might be "too aggressive".

Overnight, the parliament in Athens approved the pension and tax cuts asked for by creditors before they released the next tranche of bailout aid and, perhaps, provided the country with debt relief.

However, while Greece's lenders had agreed to debt relief in principle, few details had been provided thus far.

Ahead of a meeting of Eurozone finance ministers on 22 May, Greek prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said: "We deserve and we expect from Monday's Eurogroup a decision regulating debt relief which will correspond to the sacrifices of the Greek people."

In parallel, investor sentiment around recent events on Capitol Hill appeared to have stabilised for the moment.

Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at Oanda, said: "Wednesday’s sell-off may have shocked a few people but US indices remain in the same range they’ve traded in for the last few months and as long as that remains the case, it would suggest that investors are not too concerned."

The euro area recorded a current account surplus of €34.1bn in March, according to the European Central Bank.

Factory gate prices in the Eurozone's largest economy advanced by 0.4% month-on-month in April with the annual rate of gains rising from 3.1% to 3.4% (consensus: 3.2%), according to the Federal Office of Statistics.

The European Commission's 'flash' consumer confidence index for the month of May improved by 0.3 points to -3.3 (consensus: -3.1).

Spain's Banco Popular shot higher after El Confidencial reported that Santander had hired Citi to prepare a binding offer for the stricken lender.

From a sector standpoint, the biggest gains on the Stoxx 600 were being seen in Automobile (0.70%) and Basic Resource stocks (0.47%).

To take note of, Barclays reiterated an 'underweight' view on Saint-Gobain and an 'overweight' stance on SAP.

At the individual level, shares in Dufry AG shot higher on news that Richemont had acquired a 5% stake in the travel retailer.

Eutelsat reached a deal with Abertis to sell its 33.69% stake in Hispasat for €302m.

More news

16 Oct US close: Stocks finish higher on impressive factory data

Stocks started the week higher on Monday, on the back of a stronger-than-expected reading on the Empire State factory index and amid somewhat hawkish Fedpseak.

16 Oct Europe close: Political standoff weighs on Spanish stocks

Stocks on the Continent were little changed at the start of the week, save in Spain where the ongoing political standoff between the central government in Madrid and regional officials in Catalonia weighed on sentiment.

16 Oct Mercedes-Benz to recall almost 400,000 vehicles over faulty airbags

German multinational automotive group Daimler, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz, announced on Monday that they would recall nearly 400,000 vehicles that were potentially fitted with a faulty airbag.

16 Oct London close: Stocks slip lower despite gains for miners

London stocks slipped on Monday as miners rallied on the back of Chinese inflation data, but Convatec slid after a profit warning.

16 Oct Airbus chief willing to step down if 'no longer part of the solution'

Tom Enders, chief executive of French aeronautical giant Airbus, said on Sunday that he would be willing to step down from the role he had held since 2012 in an effort to safely guide the firm through ongoing corruption investigations.

16 Oct US open: Stocks push higher following upbeat factory data

Stocks have started the week higher on the back of a stronger-than-expected reading on the Empire State factory index and amid somewhat hawkish Fedpseak.

16 Oct Telit confirms talks to offload automotive division

AIM-quoted machine-to-machine (M2M) communications provider Telit Communications confirmed it was in "very early stage" talks to sell its automotive division.

16 Oct Tuesday preview: UK inflation could top 3pc; results from Pearson, Merlin, Asos

UK and eurozone inflation will be the big focus of the day, while the new reporting season kicks in with Asos, Bellway, London Stocks Exchange, Merlin Entertainment, Pearson and Virgin Money.

16 Oct Stellar Diamonds agrees sale price for Guinea assets

West Africa-focussed diamond development company Stellar Diamonds announced on Monday that it has signed conditional share purchase agreements with Gold Knight - a wholly-owned subsidiary company of BDG Capital - in relation to the proposed sale of Stellar's assets in the Republic of Guinea, as it had previously announced on 5 June and 14 August.

16 Oct Genedrive signs distribution agreement with Sysmex

Near-patient molecular diagnostics company Genedrive announced on Monday that it has signed a distribution agreement with Sysmex Europe, a subsidiary of Sysmex Corporation, for the Genedrive HCV ID Kit and Genedrive platform in the Europe-Middle East-Africa region, with an initial focus on Africa.