Saturday 20 January 2018

Miners and energy shares drive European stocks up

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

A REBOUND in commodity and energy producers pushed European stocks toward their first back-to-back gains in almost a month.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose 1.2pc by early afternoon in London, as all 19 industry groups gained.

A release yesterday showed Chinese trade data beat estimates, helping Asian shares rebound from a three-year low.

But by mid-afternoon in Dublin, the ISEQ Overall Index was struggling to eke out growth.

Irish shares were little changed, down just 0.03pc, or 1.68 points, to 6,627.39.

The leaders on the Dublin market included building materials group CRH, which rose 0.89pc to €24.9,9 while insurance group FBD increased 0.79pc to €6.35.

On the other side of the board, the laggards included packaging giant Smurfit Kappa, which was down 1.7pc to €23.43, while recruitment firm CPL Resources slipped 0.81pc to €6.15.

Elsewhere, industry groups worst hit in last week's sell-off posted the biggest advances. Mining shares rose from a 12-year low, with Anglo American and Rio Tinto up at least 3.7pc.

A gauge of oil-and-gas companies rallied the most in three weeks, snapping a nine-day losing streak.

Tullow Oil jumped 7.9pc after saying it plans to reduce capital expenses this year.

"The market was pricing a hard landing in China, and with the latest trade data and the central bank's effort to prop up the currency, those fears seem to have been overblown," said Allan von Mehren, chief analyst at Danske Bank in Copenhagen.

"Now we're probably going to see the market go the other way. Stocks that have taken the biggest hit are those related to energy. It makes sense that they rebound the most."

European stocks are rising after concern that turmoil in China's markets would hamper global recovery drove them to the worst-ever start to a year.

The Euro Stoxx 50 Index tumbled 7.2pc last week.

In the past seven years, every time the euro-area gauge has fallen more than 7pc in a week, it has rallied 16pc on average in the subsequent three months. Investors are less sure of a repeat performance this time, as they worry about global growth amid higher US interest rates.

Antonin Jullier, Citigroup's global head of equity trading strategy, recommends buying the region's equities after recent lows and riding the rebound before cashing in.

Germany's DAX Index, among the most-battered benchmarks last week because of its China exposure, gained 1pc, rising for a second day.

EON climbed 5.7pc after Reuters reported Premier Oil is buying the utility's oil and gas assets in the UK part of the North Sea.

Banco Popolare and Banca Popolare di Milano Scarl rallied 5pc or more as people familiar with the matter said the two are in advanced merger talks.

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