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European Markets Summary

London Stocks Close Sharply Higher

FTSE 100 ends 1.6% higher at 5350.05, as investors put worries about Greece to one side and take the opportunity to pick up beaten-down stocks. “Today it was the turn of the bulls to take control, even though there’s still a distinct feel of risk-aversion in the air,” says Capital Spreads. “The FTSE has fallen 10% from its highs earlier in the year, and so naturally there comes a point where investors will take a view that buying now should see a tidy return come six months down the line.” Miners fare best, with Randgold Resources +8% and Vedanta Resources +5%. Friday, there are no major UK data releases due but, in the US, University of Michigan confidence is at 1355 GMT.

Frankfurt Stocks End Slightly Higher

DAX closes 0.5% higher at 6315.89 as traders speak of a technical recovery after Wednesday’s selloff. ECB governing council member Ewald Nowotny’s remark that the central bank hasn’t used all its resources yet also supports market sentiment, traders say. Deutsche Post closes 2.8% higher after the company says it expects strong increases in Ebit until 2015. E.ON finishes the session 2.1% ahead and RWE up 2.2% after Commerzbank upgrades both. Friday’s major macroeconomic data releases include German GfK consumer sentiment at 0600 GMT and University of Michigan consumer sentiment survey at 1355 GMT.

Paris Stocks Close Firmly Higher

CAC-40 closes 1.2% higher at 3038.25 after falling heavily Wednesday, bouncing back despite little significant progress having been made at the informal EU summit, says a Paris-based trader. Alcatel-Lucent extends gains, rising 3.4% after launching a new product. Banks close higher – Societe Generale +2.3%, BNP Paribas +1.6%, Credit Agricole +1.5%.

Amsterdam Stocks End Firmly Higher

Amsterdam stocks close firmly higher despite ongoing concerns about Greece, in a technical rebound after the steep losses of recent sessions. The benchmark index AEX gains 1% to end at 292.08. The day’s biggest loser is Philips, falling a further 1.1% after slumping 5.2% Wednesday on negative analyst comments. KPN and Heineken also fall Thursday, but the remaining 22 constituent shares post gains.

Zurich Stocks Close Slightly Higher

SMI ends 0.6% higher at 5852.44 in a modest recovery from Wednesday’s negative session, boosted mainly by gains in the financial sector. UBS and Credit Suisse close 2.2% and 1.8% ahead respectively, while Julius Baer gains 1.9%. Still, concerns about Greece exiting the euro zone remain high, which has been a drag on sentiment across Europe for most of May so far. Thursday’s biggest losers in Zurich are luxury goods stocks with Richemont down 1.5%, Swatch off 1.3%, after data indicating that growth of Swiss watch exports showed signs of deceleration in April.

Nordic Stocks Close Firmly Higher

Nordic stock markets close higher Thursday as investors pick up bargains after Wednesday’s battering, but an equities strategist says trade will remain volatile into the near future. OMXN40 closes 1.2% higher at 912.66, OBX +0.9% at 361.37. Among the highly traded stocks, Nokia ends 0.6% ahead and Volvo +1.3%. Statoil closes 1.8% higher after upgrading its Brazilian Campos basin pre-salt oil & gas discoveries.

Madrid Stocks Close Solidly Higher

IBEX-35 closes 1.5% higher at 6534, rising with other markets across Europe as bargain-hunting investors take advantage of the previous session’s declines. Repsol gains 3.4% after saying some of the areas it is exploring off the Brazilian coast contain more than a billion barrels of oil and gas. Sacyr Vallehermoso is the biggest riser, advancing 8.7% following Wednesday’s 10.6% plunge. Bankia shares decline more than 7% amid growing concern over how the Spanish government’s bailout plan will affect shareholders.

Athens Stocks End Down 4.5%; Banks Under Cosh

ASE closes 4.5% lower at 502.52, with banking stocks heavily under the cosh. Piraeus Bank ends down 5.3%, Alpha Bank off 4.6%, National Bank 4% adrift. HSBC says, “A Greek exit (from the euro) is viewed as a likely outcome by many investors – the big question for them is how bad the contagion will be, and whether the rest of the euro zone can survive.” The Athens index has bucked Thursday’s trend, which has seen European equities markets rising on bargain-hunting following heavy losses in the previous session.

Prague Stocks Close A Touch Higher

PX ends 0.1% higher at 879.2, lifted by a 1% gain for CEZ after positive comments by the company’s head of sales, Alan Svoboda, that power prices look to have hit bottom and are well positioned for a rebound. Svoboda added that CEZ is unlikely to seen any major adverse impact from a Greek exit from the euro zone. Most other blue chips, chiefly banks, close lower on the continuing euro-zone worries. Erste Bank ends down 0.2%, while Komercni slides 1.5%.


StockMarketNews Research Team

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