London Stocks End Slightly Higher
FTSE 100 closes 0.5% higher at 5772.15. Utilities post strong gains, with Severn Trent +3.6% and United Utilities +2.6. Miners also on the front foot with Vedanta Resources +3%, Kazakhmys +2.6%. Encouraging results from McDonald’s and General Electric in the US lend support too. On the downside, ARM Holdings is the biggest loser, off 3.8% on negative read-across from US peer Qualcomm. The FTSE 100 ends in the black, but Capital Spreads says there’s no reason to be complacent. “As we’ve seen in the past, these rallies don’t always last that long and we could quickly see the gains snuffed out, especially if the situation in the euro zone starts to get out of hand again,” it says. There are no major UK data due Monday.
Frankfurt Stocks End Firmly Higher
DAX closes 1.2% higher at 6750.12, in the wake of an unexpected rise in the Ifo business climate index. Ifo economist Wohlrabe says, “It points to a sustained, continuous improvement in the [German] economy,” despite the euro zone turmoil. In individual stocks, Merck KGaA closes +3.3% after the CEO announced cost savings and job cuts. Commerzbank ends 2.3% higher, Deutsche Bank 1.7% ahead, on expectations of an increase of IMF funds. Monday, markets will digest the results of the French presidential election and the G-20 finance ministers’ meeting in Washington. German and euro-zone flash PMIs are due at 0730 and 0800 GMT.
Paris Stocks End Slightly Higher
CAC-40 closes 0.5% higher at 3188.58 after a positive German Ifo reading, although investors are cautious in the last trading session before Sunday’s first round of French presidential elections, says a Paris trader. Societe Generale and Credit Agricole end higher – up 3.5% and 2.3% respectively – after being upgraded by Bank of America-Merrill Lynch. Danone falls 3.6%, dragged by reports of an $11B bid for Pfizer’s baby food unit. Accor ends down 2.3%, after Morgan Stanley cuts its rating on the stock.
Amsterdam Stocks End Firmly Higher
AEX closes 1% higher at 309.20, supported by positive corporate results, mainly in the US. TomTom is the biggest gainer, up nearly +16% after talk which began around midday that the company wants to delist from the Amsterdam stock exchange. Although not an index heavyweight, TomTom sent the AEX upwards, helped by big gun ING, +3.4%. A minority of stocks lost a little. Standing out was PostNL, with a 6.3% fall after CEO Koorstra’s unexpected exit.
Zurich Stocks End Slightly Higher
SMI ends 0.6% higher at 6237.79, as solid economic data in Europe temper worries about the region’s ongoing sovereign-debt issues. Roche ends 2.6% higher on relief that it won’t pay any price for Illumina and may even walk away from the deal. Nestle ends 0.2% lower, saying it expects a challenging year. Novartis closes +0.5% even though regulators require it to put a stronger safety warning on potential blockbuster drug Gilenya. Analysts had expected this ruling, so the impact on shares was limited. Next week, Novartis posts 1Q earnings Tuesday and Credit Suisse reports Wednesday.
Nordic Stocks End Slightly Higher
Nordic stocks close slightly higher after a stronger-than-expected German Ifo business climate index boosts sentiment, extending earlier gains Friday after Wall Street opens in positive territory. OMXN40 ends +0.7% at 988.61, OBX +0.2% at 389.83. Nokia closes 4.4% lower amid a number of target price reductions after Thursday’s 1Q report, and following news that it has lost a German patent case. Focus Monday on Alfa Laval 1Q report at 1030 GMT.
Milan Stocks Close Firmly Higher
FTSE Mib ends 0.8% higher at 14,401, after German business confidence rises unexpectedly and good US 1Q results offset continued concerns over the European debt crisis, says a trader. Banks and utilities are among the biggest gainers. Eni +1.7% after an upbeat announcement on a natural gas joint-venture in Siberia. Eyes next week on Italy’s 1Q earnings season, kicking off with heavyweights such as Fiat and Eni. Monday’s macro focus will be on Italian consumer confidence at 0800 GMT.
Madrid Stocks End Sharply Higher
IBEX-35 closes 1.9% higher at 7041, recovering slighly from a dismal week as positive US earnings help boost the tone. Repsol shares finish +1.7%; Argentina’s expropriation of YPF had sent Repsol shares spiraling down since Tuesday and its shareholder Sacyr is still suffering, ending 1.4% lower. With Spanish bonds still under pressure, there is little conviction among investors that crisis mode has dissipated. Eyes Monday will be on a 1Q GDP projection from the Bank of Spain.
Athens Stocks End Flat Ahead Of Bank Results
ASE closes less than 0.1% higher at 714.51 amid very low turnover of EUR29.59M, with most investors taking a wait-and-see approach ahead of bank earnings to be released after the market close. “We saw a selloff today with most banks among the decliners,” says a local research director. “Everyone is waiting for FY11 results to be announced after the session closes.” Banks sub-index gains 0.6%; National Bank ends +1.7%, Eurobank falls 0.8%, Piraeus Bank off 1.8%. Elsewhere, OTE dips 3.3% and PPC rises 1.1%.
Prague Stocks End Firmly Higher
PX closes 1% higher at 926.9, as bargain hunters move in after a week of falling prices. CEZ ends 0.8% ahead, NWR up 1.2%. Banks and most blue chips rise. “The concerns earlier this week about Spanish [bond] yields and the worsening political situation here have weighed on stocks all week – today, it’s giving way to a bit of buying,” a trader says.
StockMarketNews Research Team