European Shares Inch Up On Stimulus Optimism

European shares inched higher on Monday as investors cheered prospects of U.S. President Donald Trump’s early hospital discharge as well as signs of progress in negotiations over fresh U.S. stimulus measures.

Trump has “continued to improve” as he is treated for Covid-19, his doctors said Sunday, and indicated that he could return to the White House later today.

In another development, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that likelihood of a rescue package has risen.

The pan European Stoxx 600 rose 0.7 percent to 365.09 after gaining 0.3 percent on Friday. The German DAX, France’s CAC 40 index and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 were up between 0.7 percent and 0.8 percent.

British engineering company Weir Group jumped more than 16 percent. The company is selling its oil and gas division to U.S. heavy equipment maker Caterpillar for $405 million.

BP Plc advanced 1.5 percent, Royal Dutch Shell rallied 2.2 percent and Tullow Oil added 2.8 percent as oil prices rose about 3 percent amid an escalating workers’ strike in Norway. Norwegian energy company Equinor ASA rose 2.3 percent.

Steelmaker ThyseenKrupp surged 6.5 percent and ArcelorMittal added 1.3 percent.

Shares of K+S Group soared 17 percent after the potash and salt miner confirmed that it is in very advanced negotiations with Stone Canyon Industrie Holdings LLC about a potential sale of its operating unit Americas.

Cineworld shares plunged as much as 31 percent after the company said it would temporarily shut its movie theatres in the United States and the U.K. and is “assessing several sources of additional liquidity.”

Greencore Group slumped 6.7 percent. The manufacturer of convenience food said it estimates full-year revenue to drop 14 percent.

In economic releases, the euro area private sector expanded only marginally in September as the service sector slipped back into contraction, while manufacturing output grew the most in over two-and-a-half years, final survey data from IHS Markit showed.

The composite output index fell to a three-month low of 50.4 in September from 51.9 in the previous month amid rising coronavirus cases. The flash score was 50.1.

Eurozone retail sales grew 4.4 percent month-on-month in August, in contrast to a 1.8 percent fall in July due to relaxation of the coronavirus containment measures, Eurostat data revealed. Economists had forecast a monthly growth of 2.4 percent.

On a yearly basis, retail sales climbed 3.7 percent, reversing a 0.1 percent drop in July. Sales were expected to rise 2.2 percent. Sales in the EU27 gained 3.8 percent on month in August, taking the annual growth to 3.5 percent.

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