By Barbara Kollmeyer, MarketWatch
AFP via Getty Images
European stocks were poised for another record session on Friday, lifted by encouraging China economic data and after Wall Street celebrated trade deal news with fresh highs.
The Stoxx Europe 600 /zigman2/quotes/210599654/delayed XX:SXXP +0.24% rose 0.8% to 424.11, which puts it in fresh record territory. The index closed up 0.2% to 420.52 on Thursday, which beat the prior record closing high of 419.74. It is poised for a weekly gain of 1.2%, its best week since the one ending December 20, according to FactSet Research.
The German DAX 30 index /zigman2/quotes/210597999/delayed DX:DAX +1.33% climbed 0.7%, while the French CAC 40 index /zigman2/quotes/210597958/delayed FR:PX1 +1.79% and the FTSE 100 index /zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed UK:UKX +1.26% rose 0.9% and 0.9%, respectively.
U.S. stock futures rose after all three major indexes closed at new records on Thursday, with financials and technology shares leading the gains. Google’s parent Alphabet /zigman2/quotes/202490156/composite GOOGL -0.08% became the third technology company to reach a $1 trillion market capitalization.
U.S. trade deals with China, Mexico and Canada helped seal equity gains. But some are concerned about the rising of U.S.-European Union trade tensions after the new EU Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan on Thursday said he would “robustly defend” European interests and criticized as too harsh the tariffs Americans have levied against partners, according to the New York Times.
Data reflecting a stabilizing China economy cheered investors. Growth in 2019 came in at 6.1%, down from a revised 6.6% rise in 2018, but that was in addition to encouraging numbers on retail sales and industrial production.
“It wasn’t a blow away set of numbers by any means. Yet the fact Q4 GDP remained steady at 6.0%—putting the full year figure at 6.1%—was reassuring, coming after a few quarters of declining growth,” said Connor Campbell, financial analyst at Spreadex, in a note to clients.
That data helped boost mining shares, which are sensitive to Chinese economic data as the country is a major buyer of metals. Shares of Rio Tinto /zigman2/quotes/202627887/composite RIO +1.71% /zigman2/quotes/208934945/delayed UK:RIO +1.90% rose 2%, and BHP Group /zigman2/quotes/203323256/delayed UK:BHP +1.52% was up 1.8%.
Among other shares on the move, Casino Guichard-Perrachon /zigman2/quotes/203038848/delayed FR:CO +2.82% slid 10.8% after the supermarket operator reported disappointing growth for its French retail unit and warned of weaker growth ahead for that business.
While the group reported upbeat Latin American growth, “we expect investors to remain focused on France as all the covenants restricting dividend payments only concern the French scope,” said Clément Genelot, analyst at Bryan, Garnier & Co., in a note to clients.
Shares of Cie. Financière Richemont /zigman2/quotes/203783259/delayed CH:CFR +0.54% climbed nearly 5% after the Swiss luxury-goods group posted a rise in third-quarter sales, lifted by its jewelry division. That gave other companies in the sector a boost, with Hermès International /zigman2/quotes/200522137/delayed FR:RMS +0.28% up 1% and Swatch Group /zigman2/quotes/203516858/delayed CH:UHR +0.42% up 1.8%.
Shares of NMC Health climbed 7% after the private health care operator said it would hire a former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Louis Freeh, and his firm to look into questions raised by short seller Muddy Waters over the company’s finances.