Friday, August 31 12:38:32
European stocks extended their gains around midday today, reversing a big portion of the losses suffered in the past three days, as comments from an ECB official rekindled expectations of bold action from the central bank to fight the debt crisis. In Dublin at 12.26 the ISEQ Overall Index was 27.38 points higher at 3,158.03. The main movers were Arytza up 50c to E39.24, CRH up 1.5c to E13.99, Glanbia up 5c to E6.31, Kerry up 52c to E37.68 and Paddy Power up 60c to E54.67. At 1053 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was up 0.8 percent at 1,086.58 points, while the euro zone's blue chip Euro STOXX 50 index was up 1.4 percent at 2,438.24 points after breaking above a short-term descending trend line which sent a bullish technical signal. ECB executive board member Benoit Coeure said today the central bank bond purchases in the sovereign debt market must be subject to strict conditionality, adding that in his view this meant a programme with the euro zone's EFSF and ESM bailout funds. "It adds to the belief that there is going to be some action from the ECB. Bringing down borrowing costs is important, but at the same time you need to have a clear strategy for longer term growth," said Angus Campbell, head of sales at Capital Spreads. Traders also cited earlier comments from Michel Barnier, EU's top regulatory official, outlining plans to grant the European Central Bank sweeping powers to monitor all euro zone banks, as supportive. Markus Huber, a senior trader at ETX Capital, said: "If the ECB has all the powers they might not be as independent anymore because they might feel forced to rescue theSpanish banks and then have to buy bonds and so on.