By Steve Goldstein, MarketWatch
European banks advanced on Friday, continuing a rally as the European Central Bank took steps to improve the domestic economy while making it less painful to lenders.
The Euro Stoxx banks index /zigman2/quotes/210599387/delayed XX:SX7E -2.69% rose as the central bank took several steps favorable to lenders — cutting interest rate less than anticipated, making more holdings eligible for refinancing and introducing an exemption of part of the deposits that have been slapped with a negative rate (so-called tiering).
Bank of Ireland /zigman2/quotes/204220078/delayed IE:BIRG -2.35% , CaixaBank /zigman2/quotes/203420110/delayed ES:CABK -0.76% and AIB Group /zigman2/quotes/208990455/delayed IE:A5G +0.37% each rose about 4%.
The bank index has now climbed 12% over the last month, though it’s still down 16% over the last 52 weeks.
The broader market gauges were less active, as the Stoxx Europe 600 gained 0.12% to 390.94.
The German DAX /zigman2/quotes/210597999/delayed DX:DAX -1.51% added 0.25% to 12441.44, the French CAC 40 /zigman2/quotes/210597958/delayed FR:PX1 -1.25% increased 0.31% to 5660.59 and the U.K. FTSE 100 /zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed UK:UKX -0.84% increased 0.06% to 7348.99,
Market focus turned back to the prospect of a U.S.-China trade deal. President Trump said he would consider an interim deal. “It’s something we would consider, I guess,” he told reporters. At a retreat with Congressional Republicans, Trump added he would consider a tax cut for “middle-income people,” though it’s not clear either what was planned or how that would get through a Democratic-controlled House of Representatives.
A wave of economic data is set for release, including U.S. retail sales for August.
Bollore /zigman2/quotes/206166135/delayed FR:BOL -2.12% , the French holding company with interests ranging from logistics to media, rose over 4% after reporting a first-half profit rise of 54% and declaring a dividend of 2 cents a share.