Monday 18 November 2019

European shares higher on signs Spain closer to request for bailout

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy

Richard Hubbard

EUROPEAN equities edged higher on Monday, supported by signs Spain is moving closer to asking for a bailout, and thus to kick-starting a keenly-awaited central bank rescue plan, as well as solid US data.

Banks - which have direct exposure to the sovereign debt of euro zone sovereigns - gave the biggest boost to the FTSEurofirst 300 index after euro zone sources told Reuters over the weekend that Spain could request the bailout next month.

That would open the door for Spanish bond purchases by the European Central Bank under its pledge to stand by the euro.

"It seems that there is a constructive mood around in Europe," said Gerhard Schwarz, head of equity strategy at Baader Bank. "That's what the markets want to see."

That more positive sentiment was supported during the session by U.S. retail sales data that rose more than expected in September, buoying the outlook for the world's largest economy and raising the prospect of a boost to sales for European firms operating there.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 provisionally closed up 0.5pc at 1,098.60 points.

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