European stocks up for third day

Thu, Oct 18, 2012, 01:00

EUROPEAN STOCKS rose for a third day, the longest winning streak in five weeks, as Moody’s Investors Service kept its investment-grade debt rating on Spain and US new-home construction surged to a four-year high.

On the Irish market it was a familiar refrain from traders: a quiet day of trading with slack volumes as investors await the outcome of the latest meeting of European leaders this week aimed at resolving the euro zone crisis.

DUBLIN

RESOURCE COMPANY Kenmare was the main mover of the day up 5.7 per cent at 0.517 cent. CRH, which dominates the market, rose by just under 2 per cent to close at €14.15 while food group Aryzta was 1.3 per cent higher at €39.

Dragon Oil was the biggest loser, down just over 4 per cent at €7.254. It followed the publication of a report by Citibank suggesting the stock was fully priced.

Icon was 9.3 per cent lower at €17.55 while Independent News Media closed down 13.6 per cent at 9.5 cent, albeit off low volumes.

LONDON

SHARES HIT their highest level in more than a month yesterday, propelled by strength in risk-sensitive commodity stocks ahead of economic growth data from top consumer China.

Gains by miners and energy stocks accounted for nearly all the FTSE 100 index’s gains – adding 21 points and 16 points respectively – on expectations that today’s third-quarter GDP data from China will provide a boost to demand for commodities.

China’s economic situation in the third quarter was relatively good, Premier Wen Jiabao was quoted by local media as saying yesterday that the government is confident of achieving its 2012 growth target of 7.5 per cent.

Among miners, BHP Billiton added 3.3 per cent as the firm joined rival Rio Tinto in pressing on with plans to boost iron ore output despite a volatile market caused by China’s uncertain economic outlook.

British oil major BP was the stand-out performer, alone providing almost a quarter of the blue chip advance.

BP added 2.9 per cent in solid volume of over double its 90-day daily average as investors awaited news on the future of the group’s Russian joint venture, TNK-BP.

The FTSE 100 closed up yesterday 40.37 points, or 0.7 per cent, at 5,910.91, having jumped 1.1 per cent on Tuesday, ending back above the 5,900 level for the first time since September 14th.

EUROPE

PSA PEUGEOT Citroen advanced 4.1 per cent as Le Figaro said the French government and banks may bail out the automaker’s credit unit.

Danone SA sank the most in two months as the food company reported revenue growth that missed analysts’ estimates.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose 0.5 per cent to 275.66 at the close of trading, the highest level in three weeks.

The gauge has rallied 18 per cent from its 2012 low on June 4th as European Central Bank policy makers agreed on an unlimited bond-buying programme and the Federal Reserve unveiled a third round of quantitative easing.

National benchmark indexes rose in 16 of the 18 western European markets.

Germany’s DAX increased 0.3 per cent and France’s CAC 40 climbed 0.8 per cent.

Spain’s IBEX 35 surged 2.4 per cent. Rating agency Moody’s kept an investment-grade credit rating on Spain late yesterday, citing a reduction in the risk of losing market access because of the ECB’s willingness to buy the nation’s debt.

Spain avoided joining Cyprus, Portugal, Ireland and Greece in being rated below investment grade. Bankia jumped 19 per cent to €1.24, the biggest gain in two months, to lead Spanish banks higher.

Banco Santander SA, the nation’s biggest lender, climbed 3.8 per cent to €6.13 euro, a one-month high.

Royal Bank of Scotland Group rose 2.2 per cent to 286.1 pence as Britain’s biggest government-owned bank agreed to exit the UK’s Asset Protection Scheme after paying £2.5 billion to the government to insure its most risky assets. RBS never had to draw on the policy.

US

US STOCKS rose in the morning session, after the biggest gain in a month for the Standard and Poor’s 500 Index yesterday, as a jump in housing starts overshadowed disappointing results from International Business Machines Corp and Intel Corp.

PulteGroup and DR Horton jumped as homebuilders rallied. Dean Foods Co soared 13 per cent after its WhiteWave Foods Co. filed to go public.

Intel fell 3.1 per cent after forecasting a fourth-quarter gross margin that missed estimates.

IBM slid 5.3 per cent after reporting third-quarter revenue that trailed analysts’ projections. The S&P 500 rose 0.4 per cent to 1,460.99 at 1.01pm in New York. – (Additional reporting by Bloom- berg and Reuters)