Sunday 25 February 2018

European stocks extend their winning streak

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shortly after the opening bell in New York. Photo: Reuters
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shortly after the opening bell in New York. Photo: Reuters

Gains in mining shares pushed European stocks toward their longest winning streak since February by mid- afternoon yesterday, while investors awaited a Greek vote on aid.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index added 0.3pc to 399.62 at 12:35pm in London. Anglo American and Fresnillo rose at least 2.4pc, pushing miners up the most among 19 groups, after China's quarterly economic growth beat forecasts.

By mid-afternoon in Dublin, the ISEQ Overall Index was up just 0.03pc or 1.83 points to 6,431.26. The leaders included packaging giant Smurfit Kappa, which increased 2pc to €27.25, while Kerry Group was up 1.3pc to €69.16.

The laggards included insurance group FBD, which slipped 0.2pc to €9.50, while speciality baker Aryzta was down 3.8pc to €43.20 by mid afternoon.

Elsewhere, Greece's parliament was to vote after markets closed last night on a set of reforms tied to a fresh bailout. The International Monetary Fund said the country needs more debt relief than is on offer. Italy's FTSE MIB Index added 0.7pc for one of the best performances in western-European markets.

"We're making two steps forward, one step back on the Greek issue," said John Haynes, head of research at Investec Wealth & Investment in London.

"The IMF is throwing their hat into the ring and said you've got to have debt forgiveness. The market expects the parliament to vote for the austerity package. Political uncertainty will hang around."

Optimism over Greece helped the benchmark gauge rebound 6.9pc from a July 7 low through yesterday, after falling almost 10pc from an April record.

A US-listed exchange-traded fund tracking Greek shares rose 4.7pc in early New York trading, while American depositary receipts of National Bank of Greece climbed 3.5pc.

Among shares active on corporate news, Syngenta added 3.5pc. Paulson & Co has taken a stake in the Swiss pesticide company in a sign of supporting a takeover attempt by Monsanto Co.

ASML Holding advanced 2.7pc after the upper end of its third-quarter sales forecast exceeded analysts' estimates.

Burberry Group Plc slid 1.9pc after saying Asian revenue declined as a drop in Hong Kong sales worsened.

Car stocks fell the most among Stoxx 600 groups after Credit Suisse Group warned of risks from China and Europe. Volkswagen and Continental fell at least 1pc.

On currencies, the pound halted a two-day advance against the euro after a report showed UK unemployment unexpectedly rose in the three months through May.


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