Wednesday 13 December 2017

Markets mixed amid strong Eurozone figures and US vote nerves

The London Stock Exchange in the City of London. Photo: Reuters
The London Stock Exchange in the City of London. Photo: Reuters

European indices were mixed yesterday amid stronger than expected business activity figures, and nervousness over US President Donald Trump's efforts to push through his healthcare reform.

Investors sold Eurozone government bonds as reports on private-sector activity in the bloc provided further signals of economic growth, strengthening the case for a withdrawal of monetary stimulus.

Despite uncertainty over the delayed US healthcare vote that may have implications for the "Trumpflation" trade, Eurozone government bond yields rose.

The rise came as a survey showed businesses across the Eurozone ramped up activity at the fastest pace in almost six years in March to meet burgeoning demand. French and German business activity also expanded more than expected in March.

Any reading above 50 on the PMI index suggests expansion, and the French number was 57.6, the German 57.0 and the Eurozone equivalent was 56.7. "It will be a confirmation of the economic strength in the Eurozone, and that means there's more of a case for the ECB to tighten (monetary policy)," said DZ Bank strategist Christian Lenk.

In Ireland, the ISEQ Overall Index fell 0.57pc to 6,604.07.

It was pushed lower by declines in shares including those in Bank of Ireland, after CEO Richie Boucher confirmed he'll leave this year. Shares in the bank were 0.8pc lower at 24 cent.

Other movers included packaging giant Smurfit Kappa, with its shares falling 3.6pc to €24.10. Shares in travel software firm Datalex rose 3.2pc to €3.77.

The FTSE-100 was flat, while Germany's DAX rose 0.2pc. France's CAC-40 was down 0.2pc.

Engineering firm Smiths Group was the top gainer on the FTSE, rising 2.9pc.


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