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Europe: Rallying techs help European stocks bounce back

Monday, March 30, 2015 - 16:34
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European stock markets rose at the start of trading on Monday, with London's benchmark FTSE 100 index gaining 0.43 per cent to 6,579.08 points.

[PARIS] European stocks rose early on Monday, bouncing back from last week's losses with tech shares rallying after merger talks in the sector spurred a late-session rally on Wall Street on Friday.

Shares in Infineon, STMicroelectronics, ARM and ASML were up 2.3 per cent to 3.2 per cent.

US tech stocks climbed on Friday after news that Intel Corp is in talks to buy fellow chipmaker Altera Corp in a deal likely to top US$10 billion. Intel shares jumped 6.4 per cent while Altera shares surged 28.4 per cent.

Shares in French cement group Lafarge bucked the trend on Monday, down 2 per cent after two shareholders of its Swiss merger partner Holcim appeared unhappy with revised deal terms that were designed to placate them. Holcim shares were up 0.3 per cent.

Shares in Italy's World Duty Free sank 8.1 per cent after Swiss group Dufry offered 10.25 euros a share to buy the travel retailer, below Friday's closing price. Dufry was up 4.4 per cent.

Greek shares dipped, with Athens's ATG index falling 1.4 per cent after Greece and its international creditors continued talks through the weekend on reforms to unlock loans and Athens sounded an upbeat tone, and the lenders said it could take several more days before a proper list of measures was ready.

At 0751 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was up 1.2 per cent at 1,597.12 points, after losing 2 per cent last week.

"Last week, the market took a little breather, but there was no 'sell' signal. We would need a bigger retracement to break the market's positive trend," said Jean-Louis Cussac, head of Perceval Finance. "On the upside, there are no big resistance levels in sight, so the best thing to do is just to follow the trend for now." A renewed fall in the euro also helped fuel appetite for European stocks on Monday.

The dollar inched higher versus the euro after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen signalled that the US central bank will likely start raising borrowing costs later this year, but emphasized the return to normal interest rates will be gradual.

European stocks have strongly rallied since the start of the year as investors bet a fall in the euro would help revive the region's economic growth and corporate profits.

The euro is down about 20 per cent against the dollar over the past year, which is set to give eurozone companies a major lift as roughly 50 per cent of their earnings come from outside the region, while the stronger dollar is set to hurt US company results.

According to data from a Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Research, European equity funds attracted US$5.4 billion in net investment flows last week, marking their 11th straight week of inflows, while US-focused stock funds posted US$10.8 billion in outflows.

Also helping sentiment on Monday, weekend comments from Chinese central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan reinforced expectations for further monetary easing to support the country's slowing economy.

REUTERS

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