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European Stocks Close Higher On Encouraging Data, Bargain Hunting

European stocks closed higher on Wednesday, lifted by hectic bargain hunting at several counters and on data showing an improvement in German consumer sentiment.

Investors awaited the release of minutes from the Federal Reserve's most recent policy meeting for more clues about the pace of tightening.

The pan European Stoxx 600 gained 0.63%. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 climbed 0.51%, Germany's DAX advanced 0.63% and France's CAC 40 surged up 0.73%, while Switzerland's SMI edged up 0.07%.

Among other markets in Europe, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Russia, Spain and Turkey ended with sharp to moderate gains.

Denmark, Poland and Sweden closed weak, while Iceland ended slightly up.

In the UK market, SSE surged up 5.75% after reporting a sharp rise in annual profit. Rolls-Royce Holdings gained 4.3%, while WPP, Kingfisher, Imperial Brands, Associated British Foods, Pershing Square Holdings, British American Tobacco, RightMove, IAG, Coca-Cola HBC, Auto Trader Group, Anglo American Plc and Scottish Mortgage gained 2 to 3.5%.

JD Sports Fashion drifted down more than 6%. Severn Trent, Prudential, United Utilities, Endeavour Mining, Fresnillo, Avast, Relx and Tesco lost 1 to 2.5%.

In the German market, HelloFresh rallied 5%. Continental, RWE, HeidelbergCement, Covestro, BASF, Deutsche Bank, Deutsche Post, Volkswagen, Puma, E.ON and Fresenius Medical Care, MTU Aero Engines, BMW and Deutsche Telekom gained 1 to 2.3%.

Nordex slumped 17% after the wind turbine manufacturer revised down its outlook for this year, due in part to restructuring costs and the war in Ukraine.

In Paris, Faurecia climbed 5.7%. Safran gained nearly 3% and Air France-KLM advanced 2.75%. Renault, Airbus, Credit Agricole, WorldLine, Veolia, Saint Gobain, ArcelorMittal, Legrand, Michelin and Engie also moved up sharply.

Sodexo ended lower by nearly 5% and Societe Generale shed about 2.7%.

A report from market research group Gfk said a measure of German consumer sentiment edged up from an all-time low in May. Gfk said its forward-looking consumer sentiment index rose to -26.0 in June from a revised -26.6 in May. The latest survey was conducted from May 5 to 16.

Germany's economy logged a modest growth in the first quarter as the expansion in investment was partially offset by the contraction in exports and household spending, detailed data from Destatis showed on Wednesday.

Gross domestic product grew 0.2 percent sequentially in the first quarter, in contrast to the 0.3 percent decline seen a quarter ago.

Although mild, the expansion helped the economy to avoid a technical recession.

On a yearly basis, GDP advanced by a price-adjusted 4.0 percent, faster than the 1.8 percent growth registered in the fourth quarter.

France's consumer confidence weakened unexpectedly in May, though less sharply than in the prior two months, survey results from the statistical office INSEE showed.

The consumer sentiment index dropped marginally to 86 in May from a revised reading of 87.0 in April. Economists had expected the index to improve to 89.

The index showed a decline for the fifth successive month and remained below its long-term average of 100.

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