London Stocks End Sharply Higher
FTSE 100 closes up 1.4% at 5523.92, rallying late in the session. Strong U.S. economic data help as well as confirmation of the financial aid programs for Cyprus and Spain. Wolseley ends 3.7% higher, boosted by the U.S. pending home sales report. Barclays rises 1.9% despite paying GBP290 million to settle the probe into the manipulation of interbank lending rates. The bank rises along with its peers as sentiment warms across equity markets. On Thursday, the final release of U.K. GDP is at 0830 GMT, along with the BOE credit conditions survey. All eyes will be on the EU summit, which begins Thursday. Traders warn that there may be a temptation to lock in profits Thursday following Wednesday’s strong gains.
Frankfurt Stocks Close Higher on US Data
DAX closes 1.5% higher at 6228.99, lifted in the late afternoon by better-than-expected US pending home-sales data, a trader says. Also helping markets are positive signs from Eurogroup leaders, who welcomed an aid request from Cyprus and said financial assistance can be provided for Spain via the EFSF until the ESM is ready for lending. DAX gains are lead by K+S, up 6.9%, and E.ON AG, up 4.3%, due to Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s upgrades of both companies’ stocks. HeidelbergCement finishes up 3.2%. Macroeconomic releases scheduled for Thursday include the Ifo economic forecast at 0645 GMT, German unemployment rate at 0755 GMT, euro-zone confidence surveys at 0900 GMT, the third estimate of US 1Q GDP at 1230 GMT and US weekly jobless claims at 1230 GMT.
Paris Stocks Close Higher
CAC-40 closes 1.7% higher at 3063.12, as the blue-chip index rebounds from Tuesday’s 0.3% fall, helped by a jump in US pending home sales, says a Paris-based trader. The trader also says investors are “mildly optimistic” that a positive signal could come from a meeting between French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Paris later Wednesday, ahead of the crucial EU summit Thursday. Technip led the CAC-40 rise with an increase of 6.2% after announcing it has been awarded two contracts for a petrochemical complex in Russia. Banks also rise on increased risk appetite; Societe Generale ends +3.6% and BNP Paribas +3.1%.
Zurich Stocks End Firmly Higher
SMI ends 0.7% higher at 5996.53, with most stocks trading in the black in what a trader says is the best day so far this week, mainly boosted by hopes that an upcoming two-day summit of European leaders can bring stability to the euro zone. The previous gains in U.S. and Asian stock markets are also seen to have a positive impact, he adds. The day’s biggest gainers include Adecco, up 5.7% on a recent announcement of its plans for EUR4000 million share buyback. Julius Baer ends with a 4.4% gain. Financials Credit Suisse and UBS gain 0.7% and 2.1%, respectively. Trading in the red are Actelion, down 2.2%; Nestle, down 0.1%; and Richemont, which loses 1.2% on possible profit-taking after recent strong data on Swiss watch exports.
Nordic Stocks Close Higher
Nordic markets end higher, as stocks recover some of the ground lost in previous sessions after encouraging U.S. economic data. But volumes are low and trade remains cautious ahead of the much-awaited EU summit, which starts Thursday. OMXN40 ends 1.5% higher at 917.32, while Oslo’s OBX finishes up 2.6% at 361.48. In individual stocks, Aker Solutions finishes up 6.0% following news that it has received a five-year frame agreement with ExxonMobil Corp. Looking to Thursday, investors in the Nordic region will focus on news from the EU Summit and on the results from an Italian bond auction.
Madrid Stocks Close Sharply Higher
IBEX-35 closes 2.1% higher at 6666.90, as optimistic expectations ahead of an EU summit starting Thursday and some stronger-than-expected economic data in the U.S. embolden investors. Yields on 10-year Spanish government debt fell during the day. The positive sentiment offset some negative news from the Bank of Spain, which sees Spain’s economy worsening in the second quarter. Banks led the gains, with Bankia +6.9% and CaixaBank +3.8%. On Thursday’s agenda, the flash estimate of Spain’s consumer price index for June is due at 0700 GMT.
Athens Stocks End Higher; EU Summit Key
ASE closes Wednesday 0.7% higher at 579.69, following the generally more positive tone seen on the core European markets. This was helped by the Eurogroup saying financial assistance for Spain can be provided by the EFSF until the ESM is ready, and welcoming an aid request from Cyprus. Still, volumes have been limited as market participants remain reluctant to take significant positions ahead of the EU summit, which starts Thursday. These participants will be looking for action in three areas, says Citi: short-term measures to stabilize the markets; bank and fiscal union; and a growth compact. In corporate news, Greece’s new government is set to replace the heads of several state-linked companies, including Public Power Corp and OPAP, according to a report. PPC ends 1.1% lower and OPAP finishes 0.9% higher.
Prague Stocks Close Higher
PX closes up 0.3% at 886.30, led by financial stocks and rebounding after losses earlier this week. Komercni Banka and Erste Group Bank end up 0.7% and 0.3%, respectively. On Thursday, local stocks will remain driven by moves on core European markets and investor sentiment ahead of the summit of EU leaders, which is due to begin Thursday. Other stocks close mixed: CEZ down 0.5%, NWR up 0.5% and Telefonica Czech up 0.9%.
StockMarketNews Research Team