You are here
Europe: Shares soar on rising hopes of Brexit, trade deal
[BENGALURU] European shares were on a tear on Friday as a surprise breakthrough in Brexit negotiations drove UK-focused London-listed companies and the Irish index about 4 per cent higher, while German shares logged their best day in nine months.
London-listed companies with exposure to the domestic economy swung to a premium over the exporter-heavy blue-chip index for the first time since May, in a reversal of fortune for the much-shunned market.
The mid-cap index posted its best day since May 2010, while the Irish bourse, seen as a barometer for Brexit sentiment, had its best session since June 2016.
JPMorgan's UK domestic plays index, which was created in 2017 and tracks about 30 UK stocks that make all or most of their revenue at home, ended 7.7 per cent higher, its best performance on record.
"Markets are increasingly narrowly driven, this means that every piece of good news is going to propel markets strongly higher," said Marija Veitmane, senior strategist at State Street Global Markets.
"However, we are yet to see concrete details on the deal. We expect markets to sell off sharply should those hopes be disappointed."
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Irish counterpart unexpectedly said overnight that they had found a pathway to a possible deal over Britain's departure from the European Union after three years of crippling uncertainty.
But any deal would need approval from the British parliament, which Mr Johnson suspended unlawfully last month and in which he has no majority.
Britain and the EU agreed to hold intense talks over the next few days in a bid to secure a deal, but arrangements around British-Irish border controls remain at issue, the EU said.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 2.3 per cent with most major European indices gaining more than 1.5 per cent. The German index, packed with automakers exposed to UK demand, jumped 2.9 per cent.
SAP, Europe's most valuable tech company, also contributed to gains in Frankfurt, rising 10 per cent for its best day since April after releasing strong third-quarter results and saying its long-term CEO had stepped down.
Rising hopes of top-level trade talks between the United States and China yielding a partial trade deal and a delay in planned US tariff increases also brightened sentiment.
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Chinese Vice Premier Liu He and other senior officials concluded discussions on Friday.
The banking index, led broad-based gains, up 5 per cent for its best day since April 2016 and with British lenders CYBG , Lloyds and Royal Bank of Scotland among the top gainers.
Publicis tumbled 14.5 per cent to a seven-year low after the ad firm lowered its full-year sales target for the second time in 2019. Its London rival WPP lost 3.4 per cent.
Fashion house Hugo Boss sank 13.5 per cent to its lowest in almost 9 years after the company cut its 2019 earnings forecast and reported third quarter results below expectations.
The numbers came hard on the heels of a strong sales update from Louis Vuitton owner LVMH on Thursday.