March 29, 2016 / 4:30 PM / 4 years ago

European equities rise as firmer insurers offset weaker miners

(ADVISORY- Reuters plans to replace intra-day European and UK stock market reports with a Live Markets blog on Eikon - see cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?pageId=livemarkets for site in development. See the bottom of the report for more details)

* FTSEurofirst 300 closes up 0.5 pct

* Insurers gain on positive broker comments

* Mining stocks fall as metals prices lose ground

* Portuguese banks BPI and Millennium BCP also fall

By Atul Prakash

LONDON, March 29 (Reuters) - European stock markets rose on Tuesday, as stronger insurance shares offset weaker commodity-linked stocks, which fell in tandem with lower metals and oil prices.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index closed up 0.5 percent while the euro zone’s blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index advanced 0.6 percent.

The STOXX Europe 600 Insurance index climbed 0.8 percent, making it one of the best-performing sectors.

RSA Insurance rose 1.6 percent after Deutsche Bank and Barclays increased their target prices for the stock, while Dutch insurer and financial services company NN Group gained 1.5 percent as HSBC put it on its “Europe Super 10” list.

Mining stocks including Glencore and Anglo American fell, tracking a decline in metals prices.

Copper prices lost ground as the dollar rose, adding pressure on metals by making the asset class more expensive for consumers paying with other currencies.

Weaker oil prices also pushed down the shares of BP and Total.

“The weakness in the commodity sector is not all that positive for general risk sentiment,” said Hantec Markets analyst Richard Perry, striking a note of caution on the general market rebound.

Portuguese banks BPI and Millennium BCP fell 6.7 and 6.8 percent respectively after Spain’s Caixabank and Angolan investor Isabel dos Santos failed to reach an agreement on their holdings in BPI.

While the FTSEurofirst has risen some 10 percent from February lows, the index remains down by 8 percent since the start of 2016, mainly due to concerns about a China-led global economic slowdown.

Today’s European research round-up

ADVISORY- Reuters plans to replace intra-day European and UK stock market reports with a Live Markets blog on Eikon (see cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?pageId=livemarkets for site in development). In a real-time, multimedia format from 0600 London time through the 1630 closing bell, it will include the best of our market reporting, Stocks Buzz service, Eikon graphics, Reuters pictures, eye-catching research and market zeitgeist. Breaking news and dramatic market moves will continue to be alerted to all clients and we will continue to provide a short opening story and comprehensive closing reports.

If you have any thoughts, suggestions or feedback on this, please email

Mike Dolan, Markets Editor EMEA. (Additional reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Tom Heneghan and John Stonestreet)

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