Saturday, August 10, 2013

Euro shares lifted by China data

European stocks climbed on Friday as strong Chinese factory data fuelled a rally in mining shares, while buoyant euro zone banks propelled French and Spanish benchmark indices to year highs.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was up 0.7 per cent in late trade at 1,230.67 points, while the euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index gained 0.4 per cent, at 2,83.22 points.

Paris's CAC 40 and Madrid's IBEX - which have been outperforming the broader European market since late June, driven higher by rising banking stocks - both hit their highest levels this year on Friday.

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The CAC was up 0.5 per cent at 4,084.65 points, surpassing a May peak and its highest level since mid-2011, following a surprisingly strong earnings season.

Societe Generale gained 1.9 per cent while Michelin added 1.5 per cent.

"The structure of the rally is encouraging: you see banks and cyclicals leading the way and beaten-down stocks such as Peugeot recovering, while defensive shares underperform," a Paris-based trader said.

"It's a sign that this rally could go on for a little while, although in the short-term, we're ripe for a pull-back."

The bank-heavy IBEX gained 0.6 per cent to 8,724.6 points, after surpassing a January peak and hitting its highest level since early 2012, with BBVA adding 1.8 per cent and Banco Santander gaining 0.8 per cent.

But heavyweight mining stocks were the top gainers in Europe, after data showed Chinese factory output rose 9.7 per cent in July from a year earlier. That was the fastest pace since the start of the year and added to recent data suggesting the world's biggest metals consumer may be stabilising after more than two years of slowing growth.

Lonmin was up 7.9 per cent and Antofagasta up 6.5 per cent.

The STOXX Europe 600 basic resources sector index has jumped 7.4 per cent jump since Wednesday's close but remains 15.5 per cent in 2013, by far the worst sector performance this year. The FTSEurofirst 300 is up 8.6 per cent year-to-date.

The Euro STOXX 50 has rallied some 13.5 per cent since late June. Alpari market strategist Craig Erlam warned the blue-chip index could be range-bound for the rest of the month, however, as the earnings season draws to a close and with no US Federal Reserve policy meeting before September.

"May's highs around 2,850 should continue to cap any upside moves throughout the month, while 2,700 should provide significant support," he said. "I don't expect any break outside of this range unless we get any more significant hints about Fed tapering, or disaster once again strikes in the euro zone, which looks unlikely at this stage especially ahead of the German elections in September."


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