By Dave Morris
Markets in Europe rose Tuesday, following a late-rallying Asia session, as investors waited for signals from the Fed and U.S.-China trade talks.
Banks and autos were the best-performing sectors.
How did markets perform?
The Euro Stoxx 600 /zigman2/quotes/210599654/delayed XX:SXXP +0.96% rose 0.8% to 385.16, versus Monday’s close of 382.11.
The U.K.’s FTSE 100 /zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed UK:UKX +0.85% rose to 7,344.37, 0.6% above Monday’s close at 7299.19.
In Germany, the DAX /zigman2/quotes/210223310/composite DAX -0.49% was the biggest gainer among the regional indexes at 11,822.91, jumping 1.4% to Monday’s close of 11,657.06.
After a spate of Brexit news-induced volatility Monday, the pound /zigman2/quotes/210561263/realtime/sampled GBPUSD -0.0154% was flat at $1.3256 from $1.3254.
France’s CAC 40 /zigman2/quotes/210597958/delayed FR:PX1 +1.02% was briefly in the red, though just barely, before recovering to 5,441.20. It was up 0.5% from Monday’s session, which ended at 5,412.83.
What’s driving the markets?
For now, very little. With further trade talks between the U.S. and China potentially delayed until July, focus is now on a two-day meeting of the U.S. Federal Reserve.
February U.K. unemployment figures surprised to the upside, coming in slightly below consensus at 3.9% down from 4% in January. Germany’s ZEW Economic Sentiment indicator is expected to sit at -11%, up from the previous month’s -13.4%, as Bloomberg reports that economists at Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley see an end to the euro-area’s ongoing economic slump .
The never-ending Brexit drama took another turn, though it’s unclear in what direction. U.K. parliament speaker of the house John Bercow announced that he would not allow the government to proceed with a third vote on Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal without significant changes. There are steps May can take, but few signals that she planned to use them. The pound dropped sharply on Bercow’s announcement, but recovered in short order.
What stocks are active?
Both Deutsche Bank AG /zigman2/quotes/203042512/composite DB -1.41% and Commerzbank AG /zigman2/quotes/200193353/delayed DE:CBK -3.01% gave back some of Monday’s gains following an announcement Sunday that they were discussing a potential merger . Deutsche fell nearly 2% while Commerzbank dropped 2.5%.
But elsewhere, banks were strong, with Banco Santander SA /zigman2/quotes/202859081/composite SAN +1.24% /zigman2/quotes/205677933/delayed ES:SAN +1.20% rising 2% and BBVA SA /zigman2/quotes/204078760/composite BBVA +0.19% /zigman2/quotes/209653399/delayed ES:BBVA +0.40% added 2%.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV /zigman2/quotes/209202731/delayed IT:FCA -0.18% surged nearly 5% after French newspaper Les Echoes reportedly said PSA Group Chief Executive Officer Carlos Tavares was looking to expand via a deal with Fiat or Jaguar Land Rover.
Chile-based mining company Antofagasta Plc /zigman2/quotes/200173667/delayed UK:ANTO +1.11% rose 2% following its full-year earnings report where it showed a $543.7 million net profit (down 26% year over year) and planned cost savings in the coming year of $100 million.
Other companies whose earnings were cheered by the market include online groceries retailer Ocado Group Plc, /zigman2/quotes/207225647/delayed UK:OCDO +1.10% up 3.57%. Its first half revenue rose 11.2% despite a fire at its depot in Andover.
Neil Wilson, chief market analyst for Markets.com: “Revenue growth was impacted by the fire in the quarter but Ocado’s investment thesis rests far less on U.K. retail sales than it does on its tech-based deals. Going forward, it will be very interesting to assess if there is any loss of revenues as customers switch from Ocado to [U.K. supermarket chain] Waitrose following the [joint venture with U.K. supermarket and retail giant] Marks & Spencer.”
— Barbara Kollmeyer contributed to this report