Sunday 22 July 2018

European stocks breaking out of their sluggish state

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). Photo: Reuters
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). Photo: Reuters

European stocks are finally breaking out of their torpor after ending little changed for four straight days.

By mid-afternoon in Dublin, the ISEQ Overall Index was up 0.45pc, or 26.28 points, to 5816.67.

The leaders on the mid-afternoon Dublin market included insurance group FBD, which increased 0.9pc to €5.62, while building materials group CRH rose 1.4pc to €27.25.

On the other side of the board, the laggards included Paddy Power Befair, which slipped 1.1pc to €101.75, while insulation group Kingspan dropped 0.9pc to €20.72.

Elsewhere, European equities are getting some direction, after the Stoxx 600's rebound stalled since the gauge hit a one-month high last week.

The index has been particularly volatile in intraday trading amid thin volume, mixed earnings reports, and speculation about central-bank stimulus.

Earnings announcements from companies including LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, Telecom Italia and Banco Santander helped push the Stoxx Europe 600 Index up 0.8pc by mid-afternoon.

The moves took benchmark gauges of French, Italian and Spanish equities up more than 1.5pc, the biggest gains among western-European markets.

"The good earnings are driving us further," said Michael Woischneck from Lampe Asset Management in Dusseldorf.

"Apart from banks, European companies in the Brexit quarter seem to be doing well and that should calm things down."

The Stoxx 600 closed on Tuesday 1.5pc away from its June 23 level, the day of the UK vote on European Union membership, while equities in the US and Asia have already recovered. President Mario Draghi said last week the European Central Bank will consider increasing stimulus when it has a clearer picture of the Brexit impact.

Lenders have suffered the most since the referendum, and regulators will publish their latest health check tomorrow.

Among companies moving on corporate results LVMH jumped 7pc after the world's biggest luxury-goods maker reported stronger demand for its champagnes and cognacs.

Telecom Italia surged 11pc after posting the steepest increase in domestic quarterly earnings in seven years.

Santander rose 5.4pc after posting profit that topped expectations.

PSA Group rallied 6.9pc, leading a gauge of carmakers to the best gain among industry groups, after the maker of Peugeot and Citroen cars reported a jump in first-half earnings.

Airbus Group added 5pc.

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