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Europe close: Stocks finish higher in light trading

By Alexander Bueso

Date: Monday 17 Feb 2020

Europe close: Stocks finish higher in light trading

(Sharecast News) - Stocks on the Continent edged higher at the start of the week as news of fresh stimulus in China helped to offset a dire outlook from Germany's central bank for that country's economy.
In its latest monthly bulletin, the Bundesbank said there are no signs of a pick up in growth in the first quarter in the euro area's largest economy and warned of the impending hit to factory activity from the coronavirus.

At the weekend, the death toll from the virus hit 1,770 and the number of cases on the Chinese mainland climbed to 70,458.

"The numbers we're seeing are already pretty dreadful - to say the least [...] When you consider that only a few weeks ago people were fearing it could be as bad, the reality is really quite shocking," said Oanda senior market analyst Craig Erlam.

Against that backdrop, by the end of trading, the German Dax had added 0.29% to 13,783.89, alongside a rise of 0.27% for the French Cac-40 to 6,085.95, while the FTSE Mibtel was up by 1.04% at 25,102.51.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 was up 0.34% at 431.98.

To take note of, trading volumes in stocks were lighter than usual on Monday as a result of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday in the States.

In parallel, front month Brent crude oil futures were up by 0.49% to $57.60 a barrel and euro/dollar was 0.04% lower at 1.0833.

Helping to prop up investor sentiment, the Shanghai Stock Exchange's benchmark index jumped 2.28% in overnight trading to 2983.62 after the People's Bank of China announced a cut to the country's medium term interest rates and a new injection of liquidity into the country's financial system.

Investors were also keeping a close eye on the next round of budget talks in the European Union, which were set to kick-off on Thursday.

French auto parts supplier Faurecia was near the top of the leaderboard on the Stoxx 600 after posting a 1.4% rise in full-year sales to €17.77bn and sector beating revenues at constant currencies which nevertheless slipped by roughly 3%.

Pacing losses was Kone Oyj whose shares were down 5% after dropping out of the running for Thyssen Krupp's elevator unit.

Semiconductor equipment makers were also lower after following a report that the US administration was weighing limits on trading with China employing US technology.

Another French outfit, Alstom, said it had reached a preliminary deal to purchase Bombardier's rail equipment unit.

The news followed its failed attempt at a tie-up with Siemens in 2019.

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