Europe close: Stocks end higher, focus on Fed and Spain

Alexander Bueso WebFG News | 18 Oct, 2017 19:51 - Updated: 19:51 | | |


Stocks finished higher, buoyed by weakness in the single currency during the first part of the session and the continuing grind higher by the main market indices on Wall Street.

Weakness in the euro came as some market commentary was highlighting the possibility that the next US central bank chairman may have a harder policy bias than Janet Yellen although by the end of trading the single currency had recovered some of its poise.

Investors in European markets were also aware that a second deadline was looming - on Thursday morning - for officials in the Spanish region of Catalonia to back off from their unilateral declaration of independence made the week before, which might be expected to weigh on the euro.

Against that backdrop, by the closing bell the benchmark Stoxx 600 was up by 1.12 points or 0.29% to 391.56, alongside gains of 0.37% or 47.97 points to 13,043.03 for the German Dax and an advance of 0.42% or 22.44 points to 5,383.81 on the Cac-40.

Also in the spotlight on Wednesday was the start of the Chinese Communist party's 19th Congress, at which president Xi Jinping laid out his vision to convert the country into a "great modern socialist country" by 2050, with rule of law, innovative companies, a clean environment, expanding middle class and reduced inequality.

"We are also cautiously optimistic that China will continue a gradual reform pace and it will get increased focus over the coming years. Nevertheless we expect the economy to slow down gradually over the next year due to financial tightening, which will cause some headwinds for equity markets as well," commented analysts at Danske Bank.

Significantly, the Danish broker's expectation was for Jinping to focus more on the economy over the next five years, having spent his previous term 'cleaning up' the party.

Back on the economic data front, euro area construction output dipped by 0.2% on the month in August.

Meanwhile, in the corporate space, according to Reuters Germany's SpringerNature was preparing a stockmarket listing in 2018 valuing the firm at as much as €4.0bn.
Dutch chemicals giant Akzo Nobel posted weaker-than-expected operating profits of €383m for the three months to September, amid margin pressures from increased costs for raw materials.

Another Dutch outfit, semiconductor equipment maker ASML on the other hand pleased investors, announcing third quarter net profits of €557m, which was ahead of market forecasts. The company also reaffirmed full-year 2017 guidance for a 25% jump in sales.

Hochtief's supervisory board was reportedly set to meet later in the same day to discuss a possible counteroffer to Atlantia's bid for Spain's Abertis.

More news

00:20 US close: Wall Street mixed ahead of Thanksgiving holiday

Wall Street finished mixed on Wednesday, following the record highs set the day before and amid lighter-than-usual trading volumes ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday.

22 Nov Jefferies upgrades Kingfisher to 'buy', raises target price

Analysts at Jefferies upgraded home improvement products retailer Kingfisher (KGF) to 'buy' from its previous 'hold' rating on Wednesday, raising its target price from 310p to 400p along the way.

22 Nov Europe close: German stocks give back gains amid political impasse

Stocks ended the session modestly lower as traders waited for the release of the minutes of the US Federal Reserve's last rate-setting meeting in the evening and monitored the news-flow out of Germany, amid speculation that a 'grand coalition' between Germany's two main political parties, the centre-right CDU/CSU and the Socialist SPD, may yet be possible.

22 Nov Lebanon prime minister Hariri retracts resignation

Saad al-Hariri has revoked his resignation as Lebanon's prime minister, according to a local news report on Wednesday.

22 Nov Budget: Planning probe spooks builders, mixed reaction for stamp duty cut

A range of new housing policies were proposed by Chancellor Philip Hammond in his Budget statement, including more funds for smaller housebuilder, a probe into potential holding of land by major housebuilders and a stamp duty cut for first-time buyers.

22 Nov US open: Shares hold ground ahead of FOMC minutes

Wall Street is holding its ground following the record highs set the day before, albeit amid lighter than usual trading volumes ahead of the Thanksgiving Holiday on Thursday, with investors looking to the release of the minutes of the most recent meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee.

22 Nov London close: Stocks higher on UK budget

Shares closed higher on Wednesday as investors sifted through corporate releases as well as the Autumn Budget.

22 Nov FTSE 250 movers: Qinetiq boosted by Berenberg note as Thomas Cook tanks

The FTSE 250 index was up around 0.50% on the day in which Chancellor Philip Hammond revealed his budget for the upcoming year.

22 Nov Higher margins offset declining sales volumes at Cambria

Motor dealer Cambria Automobiles managed to successfully grow profit and revenue throughout the financial year, as per-unit profits counteracted a slide in sales volumes.

22 Nov First production at Texas asset transforms Pantheon Resources into full-cycle energy and power business

Oil and gas exploration firm Pantheon Resources announced "another year of progress" in its full-year results on Wednesday, as it completed the transition from a pure-play exploration company to a full-cycle energy and power business.