Connect to share and comment

European stocks rise amid mixed data, Ukraine crisis

PlacardEnlarge
(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

European stock markets rose on Tuesday as traders reacted to a mixed batch of regional economic data, while keeping a close watch over escalating tensions surrounding the Ukraine-Russia crisis.

London's FTSE 100 index of leading companies climbed 0.74 percent to 6,749.88 points in late afternoon deals in the capital, with investors reacting positively to more solid growth data for Britain.

Frankfurt's DAX 30 gained 1.10 percent to 9,550.01 points and in Paris the CAC 40 added 0.66 percent to 4,490.07 compared with Monday's closing levels.

Wall Street moved higher in early trading after mixed earnings and ahead of the start of a two-day meeting of Federal Reserve policymakers.

About 30 minutes into trade, New York's Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.49 percent to 16,530.01 points.

Corporate earnings season continued with pharmaceutical giant Merck besting expectations but tiremaker Goodyear falling short, in part due to a currency devaluation in Venezuela.

European equities had risen on Monday, with the pharmaceuticals sector given a shot in the arm on the prospect of a takeover battle after British giant AstraZeneca turned down a $100-billion (72-billion-euro) offer from US drugs group Pfizer.

In Paris on Tuesday, shares in electricity supplier EDF fell by 2.55 percent to 27.14 euros on press reports that the French state may sell part of its 84.0-percent stake in the company to raise 6.0 billion euros to help engineering group Alstom, the target of takeover moves.

Shares in computer services firm Capgemini dropped 0.57 percent to 51.88 euros after it reported rising first-quarter sales and held its targets.

In London on Tuesday, attention switched to economic data.

"Markets may have been overly optimistic about the outcome of UK first quarter growth. Expectations for a 0.9-percent rise on the quarter failed to materialise, but growth of 0.8 percent is still nothing to sneeze at," said Brenda Kelly, chief market strategist at IG traders.

- Concern over Ukraine crisis -

Investor focus remained firmly on the unrest in Eastern Europe, as Moscow on Tuesday accused Washington of bringing back "Iron Curtain" policies in the fierce showdown over Ukraine.

At the same time, the West revealed its new sanctions included measures against Russia's military chief.

"If all we see in the coming weeks is more sanctions, I think investors will be quite pleased," said Craig Erlam, market analyst at Alpari traders.

"The danger comes when Russian troops cross the border, that's when the dash for the safe havens (such as gold) will occur."

Investors were also keeping an eye on the Fed's Federal Open Market Committee, which is expected to continue to scale back its bond-buying program but otherwise change nothing of substance in its policy statement.

"The consensus opinion is that there won't be much, if any, change to the directive and that the FOMC will curtail its monthly asset purchases by another $10 billion to $45 billion," said Briefing.com analyst Patrick O'Hare.

On the London Bullion Market, the price of gold fell to $1,288.34 an ounce in Tuesday trading from $1,299 on Monday.

In foreign exchange trading, the euro rose to $1.3827 from $1.3851 late in New York on Monday.

The European single currency eased to 82.16 British pence from 82.40 pence, while the pound gained to $1.6829 from $1.6807 on Monday.

burs-rfj/hd

AstraZeneca

Pfizer

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/140429/european-stocks-rise-amid-mixed-data-ukraine-crisis