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European shares lifted by Ukraine peace deal and Greek rebound
February 12, 2015 / 6:02 PM / 3 years ago

European shares lifted by Ukraine peace deal and Greek rebound

* FTSEurofirst 300 ends up 0.6 pct at 1,493.22 points

* Stocks rally after Ukraine peace deal announced

* Swedish stock market hits record high on rate cut, QE move

* Greek shares rise as investors still hope for debt deal

* Credit Suisse, Renault rise after results

By Sudip Kar-Gupta and Blaise Robinson

LONDON/PARIS, Feb 12 (Reuters) - European stocks hit multi-year highs on Thursday, boosted by a Ukraine peace agreement, Swedish economic stimulus measures and as investors held out hope for a Greek debt deal.

The leaders of Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine reached an agreement to end fighting in eastern Ukraine, participants at the talks said on Thursday.

Germany’s DAX -- which includes companies that sell cars and other products to Russia -- rose 1.6 percent to approach its earlier record highs, while France’s CAC climbed 1 percent to its best level in about seven years.

Sweden’s benchmark OMXS30 equity index also hit a record high after the country’s central bank moved its key interest rate into negative territory and launched bond purchases in a process known as “quantitative easing” (QE) to bolster its economy.

“The Ukraine situation remains volatile but the medium-term outlook for European equities is positive. Investors could look to take profits in the short term, but European equities should be able to outperform U.S. equities,” said Francois Savary, chief investment strategist at Swiss bank Reyl.

MORE ECB FUNDING FOR GREEK BANKS

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index rose 0.6 percent to 1,493.22 points, near its best level in seven years.

The Greek stock market jumped 6.7 percent, with the banking index surging 14.1 percent after the European Central Bank approved extra emergency finance for Greek banks.

Greece and its international creditors failed to agree a way forward on Greece’s debt crisis but they will meet and try again on Monday, offering investors hope that they can reach an agreement.

“We are continuing to take a glass-half-full view of these negotiations,” Rabobank strategists said in a note, “although we do acknowledge that the path to resolution and dissolution remains worryingly the same.”

Elsewhere, Credit Suisse rose 9.1 percent after the bank outlined measures to deal with the strong Swiss franc and posted fourth-quarter net profit ahead of analysts’ estimates.

Shares in Renault also soared, by 11.5 percent, after the French carmaker posted a jump in profits.

Bucking the trend, shares in Zurich Insurance slipped after it kept its dividend unchanged, disappointing some who had expected a rise.

European corporate results have been mostly positive so far, with 62 percent of companies meeting or beating earnings forecasts with their results, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine data.

“Earnings are pretty good overall, with a couple of very nice surprises such as Renault,” said Saxo Bank trader Andrea Tueni.

Europe bourses in 2015: link.reuters.com/pap87v

Asset performance in 2015: link.reuters.com/gap87v

Today’s European research round-up (Editing by Andrew Heavens and Susan Fenton)

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