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BAYERISCHE MOTOREN WERKE

Delayed Xetra  -  12:35 2019-03-25 pm EDT
68.92 EUR   -0.98%
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Best day since April for leading euro zone stocks as growth data impresses

01/04/2018 | 12:02pm EDT
The German share price index, DAX board, is seen at the stock exchange in Frankfurt

LONDON (Reuters) - A rally in European stocks picked up pace on Thursday as services growth data for the euro zone confirmed a strengthening economy was bolstering corporate activity.

The euro zone's STOXX 50 <.STOXX50E> had its best day since April 2017, up 1.7 percent, and gains spanning cyclical sectors including industrials <.SXNP> and banks <.SX7P> drove the pan-European STOXX 600 <.STOXX> 0.9 percent higher.

Services PMI data showed the euro area was near its best growth in seven years, while services growth in Italy and Spain beat the previous flash estimates.

Banks Santander (>> Banco Santander), BNP Paribas (>> BNP Paribas) and ING (>> ING Groep) were among the top boosts to the STOXX as increasing enthusiasm about the euro zone's recovery helped push money into financial stocks.

Erste Bank (>> Erste Group Bank AG), Credit Agricole (>> Crédit Agricole), UBI Banca (>> UBI Banca) and Natixis (>> Natixis) gained from 3.4 percent to 5.1 percent.

"The continued strength and breadth of the business surveys is encouraging," said Mike Bell, global market strategist at JP Morgan Asset Management, adding the improvement in Italian PMIs was a positive heading into the election.

"We continue to believe that the outlook for European equities is positive, aided by the potential for close to 10 percent earnings growth in 2018," Bell added.

The improving economic backdrop drove analysts to hold back on downward revisions for euro zone company earnings as they awaited the beginning of the fourth-quarter results season.

Better-than-expected U.S. car sales data and rising oil prices also drove auto and energy stocks higher.

Germany's DAX <.GDAXI> led the way with a 1.5 percent gain thanks to strong carmakers and industrials, while Britain's FTSE 100 <.FTSE> hit a record high during the session, but closed at a modest rise of 0.3 percent.

U.S. car sales data for December beat analysts' expectations, driving European automakers <.SXAP> up 1.8 percent, leading sector gainers.

Italian carmaker Fiat Chrysler (>> Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) rose 8.3 percent to hit a record high, among top STOXX gainers, while Daimler (>> Daimler), Volkswagen (>> Volkswagen) and BMW (>> Bayerische Motoren Werke) led the DAX.

"Defensive sectors, industrials, energy and IT could offer interesting opportunities," said Romain Boscher, co-head of equities at Amundi. On small- and mid-caps Boscher said he remained positive on cyclical themes.

Remy Cointreau (>> Rémy Cointreau) was a rare laggard, down 2.9 percent after Investec downgraded the stock, saying Chinese anti-corruption measures could affect consumption of costly status symbol products like cognac.

(Additional reporting by Julien Ponthus, editing by Kit Rees, Janet Lawrence and Pritha Sarkar)

By Helen Reid


© Reuters 2018
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
AMUNDI 4.42% 42.96 Real-time Quote.-40.79%
BANCO SANTANDER, S.A. 0.67% 2.3975 Delayed Quote.-18.47%
BMW AG 2.29% 66.9 Delayed Quote.-8.73%
BNP PARIBAS 2.52% 43.605 Real-time Quote.-28.25%
CRÉDIT AGRICOLE S.A. 2.07% 8.364 Real-time Quote.-33.35%
DAX 1.16% 12114.36 Delayed Quote.-23.74%
ERSTE GROUP BANK AG 1.89% 22.64 Delayed Quote.-45.25%
FTSE 100 0.18% 6893.81 Delayed Quote.-6.65%
ING GROEP N.V. 2.82% 8.858 Real-time Quote.-27.64%
MERCEDES-BENZ GROUP AG -0.15% 52.35 Delayed Quote.-22.55%
MSCI UNITED KINGDOM (STRD) 1.26% 923.776 Real-time Quote.-22.33%
NEXT PLC 2.72% 4801 Delayed Quote.-41.09%
RÉMY COINTREAU 2.03% 170.9 Real-time Quote.-20.14%
S&P UNITED KINGDOM (PDS) 0.10% 1405.36 Real-time Quote.-4.88%
STELLANTIS N.V. 0.47% 12.272 Delayed Quote.-26.45%
STOXX EUROPE 600 (EUR) 1.30% 387.85 Delayed Quote.-20.49%
VOLKSWAGEN AG -1.60% 126.4 Delayed Quote.-28.78%
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Managers and Directors
Oliver Zipse Senior VP-Corporate Planning & Product Strategy
Nicolas Peter Group Leader-Corporate Finance
Norbert Reithofer Chairman-Supervisory Board
Susanne Klatten Independent Member-Supervisory Board
Manfred Schoch Chairman-General Works Council
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