London Stocks End Up; Mining Stocks Benefit
FTSE 100 closes up 1.3% at 5710.46, with a firmer session on Wall Street following QE-friendly remarks by New York Fed president offering the support. City Index adds vague market talk of a better-than-expected reading of Chinese GDP figures due Friday at 0200 GMT. “This speculation helped to increase near term demand for stocks whilst US trade data also boosted risk appetite,” adds City Index. It says strong Chinese GDP data would be hugely important for calming fears of a sharp slowdown in global growth. Mining stocks are propped up by these hopes as such, with Rio Tinto closing 4.5% higher. Other data Friday include UK PPI at 0830 GMT.
Frankfurt Stocks End Higher
DAX closes up 1% at 6743.24, recovering sharply from earlier weakness, with gains in the US market adding support. An unimpressive Italian bond auction as well as a slew of disappointing US economic data dragged investor sentiment earlier in the day, traders say. The Italian bond auction didn’t show a pretty picture, with falling demand coupled with rising costs of the sovereign debt underpin existing concerns in the markets, a trader notes. However, weak US jobless data are fueling hopes of further action from the Federal Reserve, another trader says, resulting in a recovery. Friday’s data releases include Germany’s March consumer prices reading at 0600 GMT, US CPI at 1230 GMT, University of Michigan consumer survey at 1355 GMT and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke’s speech at 1700 GMT.
Paris Stocks End Higher
CAC-40 closes up 1% at 3269.79, following an Italian bond auction, disappointing US unemployment figures and better-than-expected US trade deficit. Thursday’s data releases “came out mixed, but investors were won over by positive sentiment,” says a trader. STMicro ends 4% higher following a positive report on the PC sector from industry researchers Gartner. Stocks exposed to the economic cycle close higher; Schneider Electric +3.9% and ArcelorMittal +3.8%. Telecoms close lower after a note from Citigroup: France Telecom ends down 1.4%, Bouygues down 1.6% and Vivendi down 1.8%.
Amsterdam Stocks End Higher
AEX ends +1% at 310.88 and recovered from earlier losses after US markets gained after the opening and heavy-weight Shell pared part of earlier losses. Shell shares end down 1.1% after an initial sharp decline following reports of an oil sheen in the central US Gulf of Mexico, but recovered later in the day after it said the sheen didn’t stem from two nearby oil and gas platforms and that the amount of oil in the sheen was small. Akzo Nobel ends up 4.1% after Kepler upgrades it to buy.
Zurich Stocks Finish Up
SMI closes up 1.1% at 6125.39 as the market rebounds from losses earlier in the week and reacts positively as Italy sells almost the maximum target of its bonds. Nearly all stocks advance, with Holcim among the day’s biggest gainers, rising 2.9% after to reports that Eurocement has increased its stake in the company. Adecco rises 2.6%, while Swatch Group gains 3.1%. Roche rises 1.5% after reporting first quarter sales in line with expectations and confirming its full year outlook. Friday, attention turns to ongoing developments in Italy and Spain.
Nordic Stocks End Session Higher
Nordic equity markets close higher as investors shrug off weak US labour data and draw confidence from a firm Italian bond auction, dovish comments from a New York Fed official and expectations China is in for a soft landing. OMXN40 ends 1.7% higher at 980.63, OBX ends 1.6% higher at 386.21. Nokia continues down and sheds 7.2% after warning on its profits Wednesday. Eyes Friday on key figures from China and the US while euro-zone bond yields remain in focus. Earnings from US banking bellwethers JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo out Friday as well as figures from search giant Google after the bell Thursday will also be eyed.
Brussels Stocks Close Higher
Bel-20 closes 1.3% higher at 2264.36 in line with neighbouring bourses, following a positive swing in US trading and comments by ECB governing council member Coeure that the bond-purchase program could be turned on again to ease stress in Spain. Umicore +4%, while Solvay +4% as well, leading the index higher.
Athens Stocks Close Lower
ASE closes down 1.2% at 714.78 on very low turnover of EUR22.3 million. Brokers say volumes are among the lowest seen recently with investors largely sidelined ahead of the four-day break starting Friday with Greece celebrating Orthodox Easter on Sunday. “There are some concerns among investors as to whether Greece will be able to form a solid government from the elections,” says a broker. On Wednesday, Greece called elections for May 6. National Bank ends up 1.1%, while Piraeus Bank slips 1.9% and Eurobank dips 1.5%. OTE off 1.9% and OPAP eases 0.9%.
Prague Stocks End Flat
PX ends flat at 940.0 as most local stocks see very mild gains. Today’s winner is NWR, finishing up 3.2% after BofA Merrill ups its rating and target on the miner. CEZ has been treading water in recent session, today closes up 0.6%. Banks eke out minor gains, Komercni up 0.1% and Erste up 0.2%.
StockMarketNews Research Team