European stocks hover around a one-month high
The biggest five-day surge in banks since 2011 helped keep European stocks at a one-month high, amid speculation this year's rout was overdone.
By mid-afternoon in Dublin yesterday the ISEQ Overall Index was little changed, down just 0.01pc, or 81 points, to 6,363.33.
The mid-afternoon leaders on the Dublin index included insurance group FBD, which increased 1.5pc to €6.85, while speciality baker Aryzta rose 1.3pc to €44.60.
On the other side of the board, the laggards included Kerry Group, which had slipped 2.4pc to €78.94, while PaddyPower/Betfair dropped 0.5pc to €134.80.
Elsewhere, lenders and carmakers, after suffering the most during the recent market rout, were among the biggest gainers of the 19 industry groups on the Stoxx Europe 600 Index.
Energy companies were among the worst performers on the equity gauge as oil retreated.
The Stoxx 600 added 0.1pc to 338.88 at 3:06pm in London, after earlier advancing as much as 0.9pc. The European equity benchmark closed above its 50-day moving average yesterday, capping its longest winning streak since October as US manufacturing data beat forecasts.
Since slumping to a 2013 low on February 11, it has rebounded 12pc amid rallies in banks, car makers, miners and energy.
"We've seen some macro data which at least didn't disappoint," said Ralf Zimmermann, a strategist at Bankhaus Lampe in Dusseldorf.
"There is some anticipation among investors on a dovish ECB meeting.
"If there is no disappointment in the economic data this week then the current rebound could go further."
Concern over global-growth prospects, the efficacy of central bank stimulus, a deepening oil rout and bad loans at banks damped investor sentiment earlier this year, dragging the Stoxx 600 into a bear market.
Greece's ASE Index rose the most among western-European markets with a 3.1pc gain.
Switzerland's SMI Index advanced 0.1pc, paring earlier gains of as much as 0.8pc, as better-than-forecast data showed the Alpine nation's economy returned to growth at the end of last year.
A gauge of miners extended its run as the best-performing group on the Stoxx 600 this year.
Greece's Eurobank Ergasias SA led lenders higher, jumping 14pc. Portugal's Banco Comercial Portugues added 6.7pc.
Gains were also shored up by Italy's Banco Popolare and Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena, which rose at least 4pc.