Shares edge up in choppy trade
European shares edged higher in volatile trade this morning marked by a more than 20 per cent fall for UK lender Standard Chartered after it became the latest bank embroiled in scandal.
The FTSEurofirst 300 gained just 1.08 points, or 0.1 per cent, at 1086.87, having hit four-month highs during the previous session, supported by an expected stronger start on Wall Street.
Spanish and Italian bourses were both up by almost 1 per cent, although they pared earlier gains, mirroring a more cautious mood on bond markets as investors await the next move by policymakers to boost global growth and save the euro.
Markets have been in risk-on mode ever since ECB president Mario Draghi said he would do 'whatever it takes' to save the euro but there are substantial barriers to him delivering on a plan of bold action outlined last week.
Italy's benchmark was up 0.7 per cent and its Spanish equivalent added 0.9 per cent, but the STOXX50 struggled to break above the pivotal 2,400-level.
Volumes were again subdued, around 37 per cent of their 90-day average.
"The problem is that the gains over the last few days have been steep but we need more good news in order for the market to rally further from here," said Glendevon King Asset Management manager Nicola Marinelli.
Denmark's Danske Bank jumped 5.6 per cent after it beat second-quarter profit forecasts while InterContinental, the world's biggest hotelier, rose 4.8 per cent after promising to return $1 billion (€0.8 billion) to investors.
Nokia gained 5.7 per cent on speculation that the Finnish mobile phone maker could launch new smartphones in early September, helping boost its earnings outlook, before Apple unveils the next version of its iPhone.