Sunday 25 February 2018

European stocks gain ground as ISEQ advances

Traders are pictured at their desks in front of the DAX board at the stock exchange in Frankfurt. Photo: Reuters
Traders are pictured at their desks in front of the DAX board at the stock exchange in Frankfurt. Photo: Reuters

European stocks headed for a three-month high on optimism for additional central-bank stimulus, while the region's currency weakened.

The Iseq also advanced strongly, up 48.5 points to 6899.54 by mid-afternoon trading in Dublin.

The leaders on the Dublin market included mineral resource company Ormonde Mining, which rose by 25pc to 0.025 cents. Airline Ryanair and hotel group Dalata also saw increases amid reasonable trading volumes, rising by 2.4pc to €14.53 and 2pc to €5.10 respectively.

The Dublin-based airline yesterday welcomed a change made to the eDreams' paid advertising on the Google search results page which came came 36 hours after Ryanair initiated legal proceedings against both eDreams and Google in a bid to stop confusion among consumers.

On the other side of the board, the mid-afternoon laggards included oil and gas firm Petroceltic, down almost 14pc to 61 cents, although this was with just 5,000 shares traded, while Irish petrol station chain Applegreen dropped 5pc to €5.51. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index added 0.4pc by mid-afternoon in London, resuming gains as the euro weakened against the dollar after a US jobs report.

The gauge earlier erased its advance as a rout in commodities dragged miners down.

Data earlier showed inflation in the euro area unexpectedly remained unchanged in November, boosting bets that European Central Bank President Mario Draghi will unveil additional stimulus measures tomorrow. While up today, traders have been holding off on placing large bets, choosing to wait for this ECB gathering. The Stoxx 600 has been hovering around the same level for almost a week.

"It's all about central banks now, but there's still substantial upside for the markets," said Teis Knuthsen, chief investment officer at Saxo Bank A/S's private-banking unit in Hellerup, Denmark. "The problem is that Draghi has to deliver something quite big. Markets don't just want a rate cut, they're also looking for an extension of QE in terms of volume, asset classes and also timeline. He needs to give us that combo."

Anticipation for a boost in the ECB's quantitative easing pushed the Stoxx 600 up 13pc from its low in September through the Tuesday close. All the economists surveyed by Bloomberg predict the central bank will expand stimulus tomorrow, and traders are so confident about the outcome that they saw little need to hedge: The number of Euro Stoxx 50 Index options changing hands last month was the lowest since July 2014.

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