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Europe: Equities rise as firmer insurers offset weaker miners

Wednesday, March 30, 2016 - 06:25

[LONDON] European stock markets rose on Tuesday, as stronger insurance shares offset weaker commodity-linked stocks, which fell in tandem with lower metals and oil prices.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index closed up 0.5 per cent while the euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index advanced 0.6 per cent.

The STOXX Europe 600 Insurance index climbed 0.8 per cent, making it one of the best-performing sectors.

RSA Insurance rose 1.6 per cent after Deutsche Bank and Barclays increased their target prices for the stock, while Dutch insurer and financial services company NN Group gained 1.5 per cent as HSBC put it on its "Europe Super 10" list.

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Mining stocks including Glencore and Anglo American fell, tracking a decline in metals prices.

Copper prices lost ground as the US dollar rose, adding pressure on metals by making the asset class more expensive for consumers paying with other currencies.

Weaker oil prices also pushed down the shares of BP and Total.

"The weakness in the commodity sector is not all that positive for general risk sentiment," said Hantec Markets analyst Richard Perry, striking a note of caution on the general market rebound.

Portuguese banks BPI and Millennium BCP fell 6.7 and 6.8 per cent respectively after Spain's Caixabank and Angolan investor Isabel dos Santos failed to reach an agreement on their holdings in BPI.

While the FTSEurofirst has risen some 10 per cent from February lows, the index remains down by 8 per cent since the start of 2016, mainly due to concerns about a China-led global economic slowdown.

REUTERS

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