Europe midday: Stocks edge higher buoyed by economic data

Stocks were holding higher as futures markets pointed to gains on the Dow Jones Industrials that would see it start the US session at fresh record highs.

As of 1218 BST, the German Dax was higher by 0.35% or 42.24 points to 12,160.58, while the Stoxx 600 was advancing 0.26% or 0.98 points to 378.83.

In parallel, euro/dollar was slipping 0.19% to 1.1819.

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.

On the other hand, she 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 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).

Still ahead on the economic calendar, US personal income and spending data was set for release at 1330 BST.

Stock in Fressenius Medical Care was lower after its second quarter operating profits fell short of analysts’ forecasts.

Heidelberg Cement was also under the cost after posting flat second quarter revenues.

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

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