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Europe: Shares rise on hopes around US-China deal and Brexit


[BENGALURU] Stocks in Europe climbed for a fourth straight session on Wednesday, propped up by positive sentiment about a potential US-China trade deal, hopes of a smoother Brexit and strong economic data in China and the Eurozone.

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow on Tuesday said "more headway" is expected to be made in US-China trade talks this week, while UK Prime Minister Theresa May met opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn on Wednesday, seeking a way out of a Brexit stalemate.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 index rose 1 per cent to its highest level in nearly eight months, aided by gains on bourses across the continent.

Positive sentiment was supplemented by data showing retail sales in the Euro zone were stronger than expected in February, while activity in China's services sector hit a 14-month high in March.

"Clearly the market is in a more positive mood," said Elwin de Groot, head of macro strategy at Rabobank.

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"At least for the coming months, we are going to see a pickup in growth certainly in the Euro area."

Germany's DAX rose for a fifth straight session. The trade-sensitive index added 1.7 per cent on Wednesday in its best performance in more than half a month.

London's FTSE 100 rose 0.4 per cent, but did not match advances seen on most European bourses as a firmer pound capped gains. The profits of a significant number of the benchmark's firms are dented by a stronger pound due to the companies' reliance on overseas earnings.

The positive sentiment crossed the Irish Sea, with Dublin-traded stocks rising 1.8 per cent to their highest closing level in nearly half a year. Ireland is especially exposed to the fall-out from a hard Brexit.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she would fight until the very end for an orderly Brexit and use her upcoming visit to Ireland to consider the border situation and solutions that could prevent a hard Brexit.

Shares of European chemical firms gained about 2.1 per cent, while financials services stocks added 1.9 per cent largely on gains made by London-traded stocks.

Construction and materials stocks also basked in the glow of a potentially softer Brexit, tacking on 1.8 per cent.

CRH PLC led the sector's gains with a 3.5 per cent rise. The Irish stock also benefited from Berenberg starting coverage with a "Buy" rating and a price target of 33 euros.

European chipmakers Ams, Siltronic and Infineon Technologies each rose at least 4.1 per cent, gaining along witht their US peers, bolstered by optimism over US-China trade talks.

Healthcare stocks limited the broader benchmark's gains as they dropped 0.4 per cent. Danish bioscience firm Chr Hansen Holding A/S fell 6.8 per cent to lead losses on the sector index after its second quarter results failed to impress investors.

Basic resources stocks ended at their highest closing level in more than eight and a half months, gaining for a seventh straight session.

Stocks of auto firms and parts suppliers rose 1.4 per cent, making for a fourth straight winning session.

Among individual stocks, Germany's Prosiebensat 1 Media climbed 5.6 per cent, with the chairman of Mediaset saying the Italian broadcaster was still studying a possible cross-border deal.

Mediaset ended the day up 3.1 per cent.

Luxury goods maker Burberry Group slid 2 per cent after JP Morgan analysts cut their full-year profit forecast, citing high exposure to Brexit-related sterling volatility.


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