All major European bourses rose in early hours of trading, following a gain among Asian indices. The pan-European STOXX 600 index gained 0.60%, while the blue chip STOXX 50 index rose 0.56%. In Asia, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was up 0.48% and the HANG SENG by 0.80%. The Nikkei 225 was down 0.12% on the day.
In Europe, the Italian FTSE MIB index rose the most, up 1.07%, followed by the French CAC 40 (up 0.83%). The basic resources index rose 1.66%, leading the gainers across Europe as higher metal prices lent a hand to the sector. London zinc rose to its highest level in almost a decade as a consequence of a surge in Chinese infrastructure demand that had boosted steel prices as well. Share prices of Anglo American (up 2.34%), Rio Tinto (up 2.24%) and Glencore (up 2.21%) rose the most in the sector. Shares of BHP Billiton got a lift from news that hedge fund Elliott Management raised its stake to 5%. The fund wants the company to quit all parts of its petroleum business and boost returns.
Among individual stocks, British builder Balfour Beatty was up 5.11%, topping the gainers among the STOXX 600 members on the upbeat first half profit figures. Fiat Chrysler’s shares extended Monday’s gains on the bid speculation by a Chinese automaker.
Shares in the STOXX 600 airlines index rose more than 5% this week following news about Air Berlin filing for bankruptcy. The shares of Air Berlin plunged 32% yesterday, but its rivals that are considered potential bidders for parts of the business saw their share price rise. During today’s early hours of trading, Lufthansa’s share price rose 1.55%, EasyJet’s 2.80% and Ryanair’s 2.24%, following yesterday’s gains.
Among stocks that fell, Admiral Group fared the worst, tumbling 7.53%. The British car insurer reported an increase in profits of only 1% for the first half of the year, disappointing investors. Shares of Swedish ICA Gruppen fell 4.49% on poor second quarter results.
Later in the US, Cisco Systems is due to report results with analysts expecting its seventh straight fall in quarterly revenue. US, Mexican and Canadian officials are due to meet in Washington DC for the first meeting to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Markets will be keeping a close eye on these negotiations given the high level of trade protectionism coming from US officials.