European Stocks Higher; Rising French Confidence Helps

This post was originally published on this site – European stock markets pushed higher Tuesday, helped by growing French consumer confidence while fears of a broader fallout from the U.S. hedge fund default eased. 

At 3:45 AM ET (0845 GMT), the DAX in Germany traded 0.7% higher, the CAC 40 in France rose 0.8%, while the U.K.’s FTSE index climbed 0.7%.

French consumer confidence rose unexpectedly in March, with the INSEE stats agency saying its monthly consumer sentiment index rose to its highest level since December to reach 94 points from 91 in February. 

This comes despite new coronavirus restrictions on large parts of the country and the prospect of more curbs on the way, after Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said “all options are on the table” to protect the public from rising numbers of infections in a third wave of the Covid-19 virus.

The news is more positive in the U.K., where the vaccination program has been more successful, as a stay-at-home order and some other lockdown measures have been lifted in England. Prime Minister Boris Johnson still urged the population to be cautious, having warned last week that Europe’s wave was likely to “wash up on our shores” sooner or later.

The European market was also helped by a positive handover from Wall Street, with the blue chip Dow Jones Industrial Average closing Monday at a new record high.

Banks tied to the Archegos saga fell, dragging broader financials indices into the red, but losses were limited and eased fears that the issue would become systemic.

Back in Europe, Credit Suisse (SIX:CSGN) stock rose 1% Tuesday, rebounding from Monday’s sharp losses after it announced a “significant” hit from Archegos’ default of margin calls.

AstraZeneca (NASDAQ:AZN) stock fell 0.7% after Canada suspended its Covid vaccine for adults aged 55 and under as concerns it may be linked to blood clots reared their head again.

Food-delivery company Deliveroo is likely to price shares in its initial public offering at 390p each, the bottom of the range at which they were marketed, according to Bloomberg, with books closing later Tuesday.

Oil prices edged lower Tuesday as shipping resumed through the Suez Canal and the focus turned to the meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, a grouping known as OPEC+, later this week.

The market is expecting the surge of Covid cases in Europe, not to mention the rising numbers in important emerging markets like India and Brazil, to keep the cartel from increasing supply levels to any great degree when they get together on Thursday.

Also on the supply side, U.S. crude oil supply numbers from the American Petroleum Institute are due later in the day.

U.S. crude futures traded 0.1% lower at $61.51 a barrel, while the Brent contract fell 0.1% to $64.85. 

Elsewhere, gold futures fell 1.1% to $1,696.30/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.2% lower at 1.1734.