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Sept. 6, 2017, 12:11 p.m. EDT

German car makers prop up European stocks, outweigh Irma-hit insurers

North Korea tensions still keeping investors on edge, analyst says

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By Carla Mozee and Sara Sjolin, MarketWatch

European markets ended a choppy session slightly higher on Wednesday, with German stocks leading the charge higher as auto makers advanced after key ratings upgrades.

Gains in the region, however, were kept in check by concerns over North Korea’s nuclear program and insurance companies struggling as Category 5 Hurricane Irma barreled toward the U.S.

After opening in negative territory, the Stoxx Europe 600 index /zigman2/quotes/210599654/delayed XX:SXXP +0.59%  rose 0.1% to close at 373.95 to snap a two-session losing streak. On Tuesday, the pan-European index slipped 0.1%, losing grip of gains as fears that North Korea would launch another missile spooked investors.

“The same old political uncertainties surrounding North Korea haven’t gone away, but for now traders are becoming immune to all the bluster. While there is no new negative news, we may see some buyers enter the fold,” said David Madden, market analyst at CMC Markets UK, in a note.

See: Here’s a win-win solution for the U.S. and China on North Korea

He also said the European Central Bank’s rate decision and press conference on Thursday were grabbing investor attention. The key question is whether the policy makers will take the first steps toward tapering its €60-billion-a-month bond-buying program or hold off out of fear of ruining the economic recovery.

“The ECB chief, Mario Draghi, is expected to mention the strength of the euro, and how it is holding back the eurozone recovery. Any signs the ECB are getting nearer tapering, may put pressure on eurozone stocks,” Madden said.

On Wednesday, Deutsche Bank AG’s /zigman2/quotes/205584254/delayed DE:DBK -0.39%  Chief Executive John Cryan said the ECB should begin the process of winding down its accommodative monetary policy, regardless of the strength of the euro.

The euro /zigman2/quotes/210561242/realtime/sampled EURUSD -0.2305% bought $1.1942, up from $1.1915 late Tuesday in New York.

Read: Here’s how the ECB got ‘stuck in the euro trap’ on its way to winding down QE

Irma on the move: Shares of insurance firms were in focus as Hurricane Irma, described as a “potentially catastrophic” Category 5 storm in the Atlantic Ocean, made landfall in the Caribbean. The storm front is seen heading toward the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Florida, where a state of emergency has been declared.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Insurance Index /zigman2/quotes/210599350/delayed XX:SXIP +0.25%  dropped 0.4%, as shares of Swiss insurer Zurich Insurance Group AG /zigman2/quotes/208758696/delayed CH:ZURN -0.27%  dropped 0.7% and Swiss Re AG /zigman2/quotes/203711779/delayed CH:SREN +0.31%  ended 0.9% lower. AXA SA /zigman2/quotes/202169431/delayed FR:CS +0.73%  gave up 0.5%.

In other movers, Micro Focus International PLC /zigman2/quotes/207956281/delayed UK:MCRO +6.90%  rose 6.2% after the company issued financial results from its new software business, purchased from Hewlett Packard Enterprises.

Click to Play

Hurricane Irma: What You Need To Know

As Hurricane Irma approaches the U.S., here's what you need to know about one of the strongest storms to hit the Atlantic Ocean. Photo: NOAA

Auto cheer: Auto makers in Germany helped prop up the DAX 30 index /zigman2/quotes/210597999/delayed DX:DAX +0.35%  , which ended 0.8% higher at 12,214.54. The gain came as new car registrations in Germany rose 3.5% on the year in August.

Shares of Daimler AG /zigman2/quotes/205332368/delayed DE:DAI +1.92%  pvowut on 3.2% after Goldman Sachs upgraded the auto maker to buy from neutral.

Volkswagen AG /zigman2/quotes/204309985/delayed DE:VOW3 -0.79%   and BMW AG /zigman2/quotes/209548467/delayed DE:BMW +0.75%  both ended 1.6% higher.

Outside Germany, shares of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV /zigman2/quotes/209202731/delayed IT:FCA +2.42%   /zigman2/quotes/204248628/composite FCAU +2.95%  jumped 4.3% after Barclays lifted the car manufacturer to overweight from equalweight.

Other indexes: France’s CAC 40 index /zigman2/quotes/210597958/delayed FR:PX1 +0.62%  ended 0.3% higher at 5,101.41.

In London, the FTSE 100 /zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed UK:UKX +0.92% fell 0.3% to 7,354.13, weighed by a higher pound.

Economic data: Orders in Germany’s manufacturing sector unexpectedly dropped in July, falling 0.7% on the month, compared with expectations for a 0.4% rise. But the country’s economics ministry said the level of total orders has remained “very high”.

/zigman2/quotes/210599654/delayed
XX : STOXX
394.04
+2.32 +0.59%
Volume: 0.00
Dec. 4, 2020 11:03p
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/zigman2/quotes/205584254/delayed
DE : Germany: Frankfurt
9.72
-0.04 -0.39%
Volume: 34,238
Dec. 4, 2020 8:59p
P/E Ratio
N/A
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
N/A
Rev. per Employee
€417,912
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210561242/realtime/sampled
US : Tullett Prebon
1.2121
-0.0028 -0.2305%
Volume: 0.0000
Dec. 4, 2020 4:59p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210599350/delayed
XX : STOXX
275.93
+0.69 +0.25%
Volume: 0.00
Dec. 4, 2020 11:03p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/208758696/delayed
CH : Switzerland: SWX
CHF 364.00
-1.00 -0.27%
Volume: 683,783
Dec. 4, 2020 5:31p
P/E Ratio
16.95
Dividend Yield
5.49%
Market Cap
CHF54.35 billion
Rev. per Employee
CHF880,753
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/203711779/delayed
CH : Switzerland: SWX
CHF 83.20
+0.26 +0.31%
Volume: 892,206
Dec. 4, 2020 5:31p
P/E Ratio
N/A
Dividend Yield
7.09%
Market Cap
CHF23.29 billion
Rev. per Employee
CHF3.16M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/202169431/delayed
FR : France: Euronext Paris
20.00
+0.14 +0.73%
Volume: 4.76M
Dec. 4, 2020 5:38p
P/E Ratio
17.42
Dividend Yield
3.65%
Market Cap
€47.46 billion
Rev. per Employee
€1.13M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/207956281/delayed
UK : U.K.: London
430.60 p
+27.80 +6.90%
Volume: 3.58M
Dec. 4, 2020 4:35p
P/E Ratio
N/A
Dividend Yield
0.00%
Market Cap
£1.35 billion
Rev. per Employee
£217,891
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210597999/delayed
DAX
DX : Xetra Indices
13,298.96
+46.10 +0.35%
Volume: 64,074
Dec. 4, 2020 6:30p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/205332368/delayed
DE : Germany: Frankfurt
58.00
+1.09 +1.92%
Volume: 21,685
Dec. 4, 2020 8:59p
P/E Ratio
N/A
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
N/A
Rev. per Employee
€560,333
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/204309985/delayed
DE : Germany: Frankfurt
145.38
-1.16 -0.79%
Volume: 1,601
Dec. 4, 2020 8:59p
P/E Ratio
N/A
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
N/A
Rev. per Employee
€354,929
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/209548467/delayed
DE : Germany: Frankfurt
74.96
+0.56 +0.75%
Volume: 1,323
Dec. 4, 2020 8:59p
P/E Ratio
N/A
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
N/A
Rev. per Employee
€723,779
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/209202731/delayed
IT : Italy: Milan
13.55
+0.32 +2.42%
Volume: 12.85M
Dec. 4, 2020 5:35p
P/E Ratio
713.16
Dividend Yield
0.00%
Market Cap
€26.78 billion
Rev. per Employee
€564,203
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/204248628/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 16.39
+0.47 +2.95%
Volume: 3.03M
Dec. 4, 2020 4:00p
P/E Ratio
211.21
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$32.57 billion
Rev. per Employee
$631,483
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210597958/delayed
FR : France: Euronext Paris
5,609.15
+34.79 +0.62%
Volume: 99,702
Dec. 4, 2020 6:05p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed
UK : FTSE UK
6,550.23
+59.96 +0.92%
Volume: 1.05M
Dec. 4, 2020 4:57p
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Carla Mozée is a reporter for MarketWatch, based in London. Follow her on Twitter @MWMozee. Sara Sjolin is a MarketWatch reporter based in London. Follow her on Twitter @sarasjolin.

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