European stocks edge higher on utilities boost
European shares edged higher yesterday helped by gains among utilities and energy stocks, while Greek equities lost ground after Eurozone officials delayed a meeting on the country's bailout.
Greece's benchmark ATG equity index fell 2.8pc, making it the worst-performing market in the region.
The Athens market fell after the Eurogroup said late on Tuesday that Eurozone finance ministers would not meet today and needed more time to discuss two sets of Greek reforms that would unlock new loans.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index, which hit a three-month high last week, was up 0.3pc by early afternoon.
The oil and gas index rose 2.3pc, making it the biggest sectoral gainer, as crude oil prices hit their highest level for the year, driven by a falling dollar and evidence of declining US supply.
In Ireland, the ISEQ Overall Index was 0.64pc, or 40.06 points, higher at 6,263.25 near the close.
Shares in CRH were up 1.2pc at €26.18 as it released a first quarter update and said it's on track to make a €1bn profit in the first half.
Shares in Kerry Group were 2.1pc lower at €78.99 as it also posted a first-quarter update and reaffirmed full-year guidance. It said overall markets remain challenging.
Glanbia was 1.5pc lower and said revenue from its wholly-owned businesses fell 1.9pc on a constant currency basis in the first quarter.
Hotel group Dalata was more or less unchanged after reporting an encouraging start to the year.
In the UK, the FTSE-100 was 0.46pc higher. Germany's DAX was up 0.25pc and France's CAC-40 was 0.51pc higher.
German utilities E.ON and RWE were up 4.7pc and 7.9pc respectively, reversing initial weakness after news that German utilities will be asked to pay €23.3bn to cover the costs of nuclear waste storage.
Traders in Frankfurt said that amount was better than some had feared.
France's EDF rose 8pc on news the French government had committed to unilaterally set a carbon price floor for electricity producers in a move analysts said would help EDF make more profits.
"This could allow EDF to get more profitable, as electricity prices should go up to reflect the carbon price", said Xavier Caroen, an analyst at Bryan Garnier.
Insurance firm Munich Re fell 3.5pc after it warned that it expects to report a sharp drop in profits for the first three months of 2016 and its full-year target was now looking "ambitious".
Germany's Adidas surged 8.6pc after hiking its guidance for 2016 as its first-quarter profits rose 35pc.