European stocks advance on US data

Wed, Sep 26, 2012, 01:00

EUROPEAN STOCKS advanced as US home prices and consumer confidence increased more than forecast, adding to signs the world’s largest economy is strengthening.

In Dublin, trading was described as quiet. “There were no fireworks,” said one dealer.

DUBLIN

IT WAS a relatively quiet day of trading on the Irish Stock Exchange.

Datalex, which provides technology to the airline and travel sectors, was the main mover rising by 4.6 per cent to 80 cent yesterday.

United Drug’s good recent run continued with the stock up by almost 3.2 per cent at €2.95. Ironically, the company is set to quit the Irish market for a listing in London.

Drinks group CC was up 2.3 per cent at €3.698.

Bakery group Aryzta, which has its main listing in Switzerland, was down for the second day in a row. It closed at €38, representing a decline of 1.8 per cent.

On Monday, the company reduced its guidance for 2013, predicting that consumer behaviour would not improve next year.

LONDON

UK STOCKS rose, halting a three- day decline for the FTSE 100 Index, as data showed US consumer confidence climbed to a seven-month high this month, beating economist forecasts.

Carnival Corp rallied 3.4 per cent after third-quarter earnings topped estimates.

Weir Group rose 4 per cent as analysts said the company may become a takeover target.

Standard Chartered paced declining shares amid a report its largest shareholder has held talks to sell its stake.

The FTSE 100 gained 20.87 points, or 0.4 per cent, to 5,859.71 at the close in London, after falling as much as 0.2 per cent earlier.

The FTSE All-Share Index also gained 0.3 per cent today.

The US Conference Board’s index jumped to 70.3 in September from 61.3 last month, exceeding the most optimistic projection of economists, whose median estimate in a Bloomberg survey called for 63.1.

Rising house values and higher stock prices are helping bolster sentiment, which may encourage households to boost the spending that accounts for about 70 per cent of the world’s largest economy.

Separate data showed US house prices climbed more than forecast in July from a year earlier.

The FTSE 100 has risen 11 per cent from this year’s low on June 1st, boosted by bond-purchasing programmes from both the European Central Bank and the Federal Reserve. The rally has pushed the gauge to trade at 11.5 times estimated earnings of its constituents, near the highest level since 2010.

Carnival jumped 3.4 per cent to 2,342 pence in London after the world’s largest cruise-ship operator reported third-quarter adjusted earnings of $1.53 per share, topping the average analyst estimate of $1.43.

Weir Group climbed 4 per cent to 1,811 pence, rising for the first time in four days, as analysts speculated General Electric may be interested in companies including Weir as it looks to build its mining-equipment division through acquisitions. Weir Growth Weir, the largest provider of pumps to miners, may attract GE’s interest,Oriel Securities Ltd and Investec Ltd said.

Standard Chartered lost 1.6 per cent to 1,457.5 pence after the Financial Times reported that Temasek Holdings has recently talked to potential buyers for its stake in the lender.

EUROPE

CONTINENTAL SANK 4 per cent as Schaeffler sold a 10.4 per cent stake in the tire producer.

Infineon Technologies slid 6.1 per cent after Europe’s second-biggest semiconductor maker forecast a decline in revenue.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index added 0.4 per cent to 275.78 at the close of trading.

The gauge has rallied 18 per cent from this years low on June 4th as European Central Bank policymakers agreed to implement an unlimited bond-buying programme and the Federal Reserve unveiled a third round of asset purchases.

US

US STOCKS rose modestly in early trading on investor confidence that Federal Reserve stimulus would underpin equities and purchases by money managers wanting to touch up portfolios before the quarter’s end.

San Francisco Fed president John Williams said on Monday he expected the central bank to expand its bond-buying programme next year to more aggressively combat the unemployment rate. He also expects the programme to end before the close of 2014.

Caterpillar, the heavy machinery maker, cut its 2015 profit outlook, warning that weaker commodity prices would result in a bigger-than-expected decline in demand.

Shares of Caterpillar fell 2.2 per cent to $88.89, the biggest drag on the Dow while Tesla slumped 8.5 per cent to $28.06. – (Additional reporting: Bloomberg and Reuters)