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Europe close: Stocks continue to grind higher

By Alexander Bueso

Date: Friday 23 Feb 2024

(Sharecast News) - European shares continued to rally on Friday after a bullish session on Wall Street overnight, with the benchmark Stoxx 600 nearing record highs again.
The pan-regional index was up 0.43% to 497.25, alongside gains for the majority of regional indices.

Spain's Ibex 35 was the exception, drifting lower by 0.08% to 10,130.60, but the German Dax added 0.28% to 17,419.33 and the FTSE Mib climbed 1.07% to 32,700.92.

"Spring is in the air, and American markets are certainly blooming this season. The S&P 500 closed up at record highs on Thursday, following Nvidia's blockbuster results, and broader optimism about AI and economic growth," said Hargreaves Lansdown analyst Sophie Lund-Yates.

"The tech-heavy Nasdaq was also unsurprisingly in on the action, and is within touching distance of its all-time high. While a lot of the excitement might be justified, we are entering the realms of frothiness, which of course increases risk."

"Latest figures show that the US market remains tight, which further muddies the picture for the Federal Reserve. Those banking on swift rate cuts are likely going to be disappointed."

In economic news, the German economy contracted by 0.3% on the quarter in the three months ending in December, according to data released on Friday by state statistics agency Destatis, in line with the initial estimate and consensus.

On the same quarter a year earlier, GDP shrank by 0.4%.

In equity news, shares in Standard Chartered gained 5% after the Asia-focused bank reported an 18% rise in annual pre-tax profits, lifted its dividend and announced a $1bn share buyback.

Lufthansa shares fell 2% as ongoing strikes over staff salaries weighed on the German airline.

Deutsche Telekom shares dropped despite Europe's largest telecoms company lifting guidance and unveiling a €2bn buyback and higher dividends.


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