Europe close: Weakness in single currency benefits stocks

Equity markets on the Continent ended the day slightly higher as stronger than expected data in the States weighed on the single currency.

By the closing bell, the benchmark Stoxx 600 was higher by 0.17% or 0.64 points to 382.65, while the German Dax was ahead by 0.28% to 12,292.05 and the Cac-40 down by 0.21% at 5,218.89.

In parallel, the euro was down 0.47% versus the greenback to 1.1741 and front month Brent crude futures off by 0.01% at $52.33 a barrel on the ICE.

Job openings in the States experienced their largest increase in almost two years in June, the results of the US Department of Labor’s JOLTS survey revealed, jumping by 461,000 in June to reach 6.163m after an upwardly revised 5.702m for May (consensus: 5.75m).

Tuesday’s news saw the US dollar spot index gain 0.29% to 93.71 and helped offset the drag on sentiment from weak trade figures out from around the world earlier in the day.

Weak trade flows around the world

Chinese and German foreign trade data released on Tuesday morning revealed a sharply weaker than expected performance.

Exports from Asia’s largest economy slowed from a 17.3% year-on-year clip in June to 11.2% for July (consensus: 14.8%). Imports fared just as poorly, with purchases from overseas slowing from an annualised pace of 23.1% to 14.7% (consensus: 22.3%).

Soon afterwards, data from the Federal Office of Statistics revealed that Germany’s foreign trade surplus increased in June but only because import growth fell more sharply than exports.

In seasonally adjusted terms, the surplus increased from €20.3bn in May to €21.2bn for June (consensus: €23.9bn) as exports declined by 2.8% month-on-month to reach €104.9bn while purchases from overseas fell by 4.5% to €83.7bn.

Over in France it was a similar story, with exports and imports of goods both lower versus May but with the June deficit declining by €0.2bn to -€4.7bn, according to INSEE.

German energy trader Uniper raised its guidance for operating profits and dividends.

Deutsche Post DHL saw second quarter profits rise more quickly than expected.

According to Boersen Zeitung, which cited sources from the banking industry, Italian lender Monte dei Paschi di Siena was headed for a first half loss of over €3bn.

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