Europe close: Stocks jump on dip in euro, strong economic data

Stocks closed near their best levels of the day with a falling euro helping to relieve some of the selling pressure even as the main market gauges on the other side of the Pond continued to grind higher.

At the close, the German Dax was higher by 1.10% or 133.04 points to 12,251.29, while the Stoxx 600 clocked in with an advance of 0.64% or 2.41 points to 380.26.

In parallel, euro/dollar was slipping 0.19% to 1.1817 and the Dow Jones Industrials was trading just off a fresh record high of 21,990.96.

“European stocks markets are strong going into the close as broadly positive data has helped the equities. Eurozone indices like the DAX and CAC 40 are the standout performers of the day as German unemployment and Eurozone GDP numbers were well received,” said CMC Markets’s David Madden.

Euro area GDP growth accelerated to a 0.6% quarter-on-quarter clip over the three months to June, up from a 0.5% pace in the first quarter.

Reacting to the data, Apolline Menut at Barclays described the balance-of-risks for growth going forward as “broadly balanced”.

However, the 7% run-up in the single currency’s trade-weighted value since mid-April would loom large over the deliberations of the European Central Bank’s Governing Council on what the backdrop for its policy decisions in 2018 might be, she added.

On the other hand, Menut sounded an optimistic note regarding the potential for economic reforms under new French president Emmanuele Macron.

German unemployment declined by 9,000 in July (consensus: -5,000), according to the Federal Labor Agency, with the rate of joblessness stuck at 5.7% – its lowest level since reunification.

Also helping to prop up sentiment, data released in China appeared to show the Asian giant’s economy accelerated at the start of the third quarter.

Caixin’s non-official Chinese manufacturing sector purchasing managers’ index rose to a reading of 51.1 for July after a print of 50.4 in June defying forecasts for a dip to 50.2.

Back on the European economic front, IHS Markit’s ‘final’ reading for its euro area factory sector purchasing managers’ index slipped from a reading of 57.4 for June to 56.6 in July (Preliminary: 56.8).

Stock in Fresenius Medical Care ended the day higher even after announcing second quarter operating profits which fell short of analysts’ forecasts.

Heidelberg Cement was also on the up despite posting flat second quarter revenues.

BNP Paribas announced it was to buy British property services outfit Strutt & Parker.

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