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European Markets Summary

London Stocks Close Flat

FTSE 100 ends a bumpy session flat at 5351.53, supported by some encouraging US data, in the form of May’s University of Michigan index. At the same time, earlier worries about Spain’s Catalonia region dissipate, somewhat, after the region said it would meet its financial requirements. “At least for now we’ve seen a week of overall gains for equity markets and the desperate panic selling has abated,” says Capital Spreads. Nevertheless, as uncertainty about Greece and worries about Spain and its banking sector linger, all it will take is one unsavory euro-zone headline for investors to start hitting the sell button again, a trader says.

Frankfurt Stocks Close Slightly Higher

DAX closes 0.4% higher at 6339.94 after better-than-expected US consumer confidence data helped supports market sentiment. However, investors remain cautious after reports that Spain’s Catalonia region asked the central government for help with its debt, traders say. As for stocks, Siemens finishes the session 2.3% higher after a brokerage upgrade and E.ON ends up 1.5% for the same reason. Monday is a public holiday in the US and Germany, but the stock markets in Germany will open.

Paris Stocks Close Slightly Higher

CAC-40 closes 0.3% higher at 3047.94, having fluctuated between gains and losses during the session. Data showing an increase in consumer confidence and lower rates on ten-year French bonds are offsetting continuing fears of a possible exit of Greece from the euro zone, says a Paris-based trader. Alcatel-Lucent shares continues to rise, closing up 4.5%, after the company announced its first core router product, while Carrefour gains 1.8% after it said Georges Plassat will take over as chairman and chief executive earlier than expected.

Amsterdam Stocks Close Slightly Higher

AEX closes 0.2% higher at 292.76 as markets are just able to squeeze out a gain at the end of the day following a better-than-expected reading from the University of Michigan consumer confidence index. Earlier, markets were under pressure due to worries over Spain’s finances, which caused yields on Spanish government debt to moved higher. There is no noteworthy corporate news. Monday, businesses in the Netherlands will be closed for the Pentecost holiday, but financial markets will be open.

Zurich Stocks Close Marginally Higher

SMI closes 0.2% higher at 5865.19 after a session that saw “small ups and downs,” following Thursday’s light gains, a trader says, while concern on the fate of Greece in the euro zone persists. Financials are among the day’s biggest losers, further hit by worries on the health of Spain’s banking sector, with Credit Suisse and UBS down 1.4% and 0.9%, respectively. Cyclicals like Holcim and Adecco are also down, closing 0.6% and 0.9% lower. Syngenta drops 0.5% after the company announced it settled litigation in the US, while heavyweight defensives like Novartis and Nestle trade in the black with gains of 0.9% and 0.3%. Roche is up 0.3%. On Monday, the market will be closed for a public holiday.

Nordic Stocks Are Mixed By Mkt Close

Nordic equities are mixed by the close as uncertainty about Greece and its future in the euro zone keeps investors on edge. There is no shortage of negative newsflow to suppress sentiment, including reports of disappointing Greek budget revenue. Additionally, there are reports suggesting Spain’s Catalonia region requested financial assistance from the central government. Robust German consumer confidence numbers are a bright spot. The Helsinki index is down 0.1%, whilst OMXN40 is up 0.2%, and OBX 0.1% higher. Meanwhile in individual stocks, Nordea is slightly down, falling 0.2% after a Moody’s downgrade. But on the whole, a Moody’s assessment of Sweden’s four big banks is being taken as a sign of the resilience of the Nordic banking sector.

Milan Stocks Close Slightly Higher

FTSE Mib closes 0.4% higher at 13154, lifted by improving consumer sentiment data in the US. Even so, investors remain weary of taking large positions on fresh concerns over the state of Spain’s finances. This comes after reports Friday afternoon that Spain’s Catalonia region requested assistance from the central government. As for Italian stocks, bank shares recoup some of their recent losses with Intesa Sanpaolo up 0.8% and UniCredit 0.6% higher. And the construction sector gains on the US sentiment data, with Buzzi Unicem up 2.2% and Italcementi 1.1% higher. Trading volumes are low however, ahead of the long Memorial Day weekend holiday in the US. Monday, the early macroeconomic focus will be on Italy’s May consumer confidence data coming at 0800 GMT.

Athens Stocks Close Sharply Lower

ASE ends down 3.5% at 485.18, reversing opening gains to end sharply lower. News that Greek budget revenue in the first few weeks of May dropped nearly 20% from last year’s level due to the recession, adds to jitters. Meanwhile, the possibility of a Greek euro exit continues to weigh on investors’ minds. “We think that the ramifications of a Greek exit are more serious than the market anticipates,” says Morgan Stanley. “While a euro-zone break-up is not our base-case scenario, we raise our subjective probability to 35% from 25%, and reduce the time scale of this move to 12-18 months from five years,” it adds. Next week, National Bank of Greece, Alpha Bank and Piraeus Bank will report 1Q earnings.

Prague Stocks Close Lower

PX closes down 1.1% at 869.6 led by Komercni Banka and Erste Group Bank, which are down 0.8% and 0.7%, respectively amid steady concerns over Greece. News that Spain’s Catalonia region requested aid from its central government has also weighed on European markets Friday afternoon. Uncertainties over the Athens’s future in the euro zone will likely continue to pressure the CEE region’s stocks next week, traders say. NWR closes down 2.1% and Telefonica Czech up 0.6%.


StockMarketNews Research Team

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