European Equity Benchmarks Close Higher, Led by Automotive, Bank Stocks
The broad-based major European indices closed higher in Tuesday trading as automotive and bank stocks helped lift the markets.
In economic news, industrial producer prices rose 0.1% in the euro area (EA19) and 0.2% in the EU28 in February, compared with January, according to Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. In January, prices increased 0.3% in both the euro area and the EU28. Compared with February 2018, industrial producer prices rose 3.0% in the euro area and 3.1% in the EU28.
The highest monthly increases in industrial producer prices were recorded in Slovakia (+1.8%), Bulgaria (+1.5%), Latvia and Greece (both +1.2%), while the highest decreases were in Estonia (-1.5%), Denmark (-0.6%) and Portugal (-0.5%).
On an annual basis, industrial producer prices in the euro area rose 8.0% for the energy sector, 1.5% for capital goods, 1.4% for durable consumer goods, by 1.3% for intermediate goods, and 0.4% for non-durable consumer goods in February, compared with February 2018. Prices in total industry excluding energy rose 1.2%. In the EU28, industrial producer prices rose 7.8% for the energy sector, 1.8% for intermediate goods, 1.7% for durable consumer goods, 1.5% for capital goods, and 0.6% for non-durable consumer goods. Prices in total industry excluding energy rose by 1.4%.
The highest annual increases in industrial producer prices were recorded in Latvia (+6.6%), Cyprus (+6.5%), Romania (+6.4%) and Belgium (+5.9%). No decreases were observed.
In the UK, the headline seasonally adjusted IHS Markit/CIPS UK Construction Total Activity Index was 49.7 in March, up from 49.5 in February, and still below the 50.0 no-change threshold. The sustained decline in total construction activity represented the first back-to-back fall in output levels since August 2016, although the rate of decline remained only marginal in March.
“Fears that the recent weakness of the UK construction sector may not be just a blip, but a sustained soft patch, were further fueled by latest data,” said Joe Hayes, an economist at IHS Markit. “Amid subdued inflows of new work, a first back-to-back decline in output since August 2016 was recorded. Brexit-related uncertainty continued to generate indecisiveness, ultimately hitting order book volumes.”
And in Germany, the municipalities and associations of municipalities (excluding city states) showed a total financial surplus of EUR9.8 billion ($11 billion) in 2018, according to the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis). Destatis also reports that although this was below the record surplus of EUR10.7 billion in 2017, it is still is much higher than the surplus of EUR5.4 billion recorded in 2016.
In equities, health care company NMC Health, and financial services firm Hargreaves Lansdown led the FTSE sharply higher in London, rising 4.2% and 4.1% respectively, followed by bank Standard Chartered, and packaging company Smurfit Kappa Group, which climbed 3.4% each. Insurance firm Prudential, airline operator easyJet, and publishing company Informa, were up 3.1%, 2.7%, and 2.6% respectively, while turnaround firm Melrose Industries, and software company MicroFocus International each closed 2.5% higher.
In Frankfurt, tire maker Continental, and automaker BMW led the DAX into positive territory, climbing 2.3% and 2.2% respectively, followed by semiconductor company Infineon, and pharmaceutical firm Bayer, which rose 1.9% and 1.5%. Kidney dialysis company Fresenius Medical Care, and industrial conglomerate Siemens were up 1.3% each, while stock market operator Deutsche Borse, automaker Volkswagen, footwear and apparel company Adidas, and airline operator Lufthansa each closed 1.1% higher.
And in Paris, auto parts supplier Valeo, and semiconductor company STMicroelectronics led the CAC higher, rising 2.8% and 2.7% respectively, followed by public relations firm Publicis Groupe, and automaker Peugeot, which climbed 1.9% and 1.7%. Hotel operator Accor, alcoholic beverage company Pernod Ricard, and energy management firm Schneider Electric were up 1.6%, 1.5%, and 1.3% respectively, while steel and mining company ArcelorMittal, and insurance firm AXA each closed 1.2% higher. Bank BNP Paribas, and automaker Renault increased 1% each.
The FTSE climbed 1.01%, the DAX rose 0.62%, and the CAC-40 gained 0.33%.
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.
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