Telco stocks take markets in Europe and Asia higher

European stocks gain, US futures point higher and Chinese shares rise in Hong Kong

The euro was little changed at $1.0617, and the British pound advanced 0.2 per cent to $1.2432.

The euro was little changed at $1.0617, and the British pound advanced 0.2 per cent to $1.2432.


Stocks in Europe and Asia rose, led by telecommunications shares, after the Standard and Poor’s 500 climbed to a fresh record last week. Unilever tumbled after Kraft Heinz withdrew its $143 billion (€134 billion) bid for Unilever.

European stocks gained and US futures pointed higher even as Unilever slumped more than 8 per cent. Japan’s Topix climbed as the yen halted a three-day advance following comments by a Federal Reserve official.

Chinese shares traded in Hong Kong rose for the third time in four sessions. Gold was little changed after gaining for seven out of the past eight weeks, while oil advanced for a third day.

With US bond and stock markets shut on Monday for Presidents’ Day, investors are turning to corporate and political developments. Europe was thrown back into focus after a poll showed Angela Merkel’s ruling party in Germany was behind the Social Democrats for the first time under her leadership.

Negative response

Trading in Kraft and its erstwhile target remains in focus on the back of Friday’s surge in both stocks. People familiar with the talks at the weekend said 3G Capital and Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway decided Unilever’s negative response made a friendly transaction impossible.

The dollar strengthened against the yen after Fed Bank of Cleveland president Loretta Mester added to the chorus of US policymakers signalling they will keep raising interest rates. She said in Singapore on Monday that the economy was on a “sound footing” and she’s comfortable with rates going up over time. Traders boosted bets the central bank will act as early as March or May after chairwoman Janet Yellen said last week more increases would be appropriate.

The Stoxx Europe 600 added 0.3 per cent at 8.16am in London after the index finished last week at the highest level since December 2015. Unilever tumbled after soaring 13 per cent on Friday.

The Topix rose 0.2 per cent, after retreating as much as 0.6 per cent earlier in the day, as SoftBank Group led gains.

Hang Seng

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng climbed 0.5 per cent to the highest closing level since August 2015. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index jumped 0.8 per cent.

SandP 500 futures advanced 0.2 per cent, after the index added 1.5 per cent last week to a record.

The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was little changed. The yen dropped 0.2 per cent to 113.06 per dollar after gaining 1.3 per cent over the previous three sessions. The Aussie dollar increased 0.2 per cent and the South African rand slid 1 per cent.

The euro was little changed at $1.0617, and the British pound advanced 0.2 per cent to $1.2432.

Gold rose less than 0.1 per cent to $1,235.18. The metal dropped 0.4 per cent on Friday, though it ended higher for the week.

Crude futures rose 0.4 per cent to $53.61 a barrel. Oil traded last week in the smallest trading range in 13 years, as investors weighed rising US drilling activity against Opec production cuts.