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European markets jump on growth

Monday, September 02 09:47:02

European shares rose sharply today, buoyed by a resurgent mining sector after strong manufacturing data from China and by gains in telecom stocks due to M&A activity.

No European sector was in negative territory as a delay to U.S. military action in Syria also lifted sentiment, helping to support technical buying on the first day of the month.

Miners jumped 2.6 percent after a survey showed that output at China's factories was the strongest in months in August, as domestic demand made up for weak exports.

"The China data seems to me confirmation that the data has bottomed and may be on its way back, and that can only be good for the market," Will Hedden, sales trader at IG, said.

"We had quite a rough end to last week, and with the absence of the U.S. market and having hit a stalling point on Syria, we're seeing a bit of a comeback after the moves we saw last week."

U.S. markets will be closed for a public holiday on Monday.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 gained 1.5 percent to trade at 1,212.55 by 0732 GMT. Concerns over instability in the Middle East that could follow any potential Western military operation in Syria saw the FTSEurofirst fall back 2.3 percent last week.

However, any action from the United States in response to a chemical weapons attack in Damascus last month has been delayed until after a congressional vote, which will take at least nine days.

British telecoms company Vodafone gained 3.9 percent after people familiar with the matter said that the company would announce a $130 billion deal on Monday that will give Verizon Vodafone's stake in Verizon Wireless, giving the U.S. company complete control of the wireless company, subject to final board approval.

Telecoms gained 2.5 percent, with Goldman Sachs lifting their rating on the European sector to "neutral" from "cautious", citing activity in M&A that could benefit other firms in the sector.

Telecom Italia jumped 5.3 percent, the top FTSEurofirst gainer, on speculation that it could be the next to join the merger wave.

The pan-European index has gained 8.9 percent since mid-June as stronger economic data has boosted the outlook for the region. UBS said it has gone "overweight" on Europe, citing positive surprises in economic data in the region that should help earnings improve.

"Given the depressed nature of European earnings in relation to the U.S, there is more 'bang for your buck' in terms of a recovery in European macro," analysts wrote in a note. ( C ) Reuters