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Feb. 28, 2017, 12:29 p.m. EST

Defense stocks help European market finish higher

Stoxx Europe 600 secures February gain of nearly 3%

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By Carla Mozee and Victor Reklaitis, MarketWatch

AFP/Getty Images
BAE Systems was among the defense stocks gaining Tuesday.

European stocks closed moderately higher Tuesday, with shares of defense companies among the notable winners, as investors prepared to hear about U.S. President Donald Trump’s plans to boost growth in the world’s largest economy.

The Stoxx Europe 600 /zigman2/quotes/210599654/delayed XX:SXXP +1.22%  rose 0.2% to end at 370.24. The pan-European benchmark notched a February advance of 2.8%, marking its third monthly gain in four months.

Trump will give a key address before a joint session of Congress in Washington starting around 9 p.m. Eastern Time, or 2 a.m. London time on Wednesday. Investors are anticipating that the president will shed some light on his plans for fiscal stimulus in the U.S.

On Monday, Trump said he would have a “big statement” on infrastructure spending and that his first budget proposal would include a “historic increase” in military spending.

“This has green-lit some decent gains from the relevant companies,” including London-listed shares of weapons maker BAE Systems PLC , said Connor Campbell, financial analyst at Spreadex, in a note.

BAE shares were lifted 1.9%. Aerospace and defense company Meggitt PLC /zigman2/quotes/208933633/delayed UK:MGGT +0.43%  leapt 13%, topping the Stoxx 600 as the company also planned to raise its dividend.

Thales SA /zigman2/quotes/206629262/delayed FR:HO -0.19%  tacked on 3.7% as the French defense-electronics company said it expects profitability to rise this year on higher military spending globally, and Airbus Group SE /zigman2/quotes/208224336/delayed FR:AIR +2.07% closed up 1.4%.

“Now Trump has to deliver on slightly more complicated matters, namely health-care and tax reforms,” Campbell said. “Failure to do so could plant some further seeds of doubt in those indices sent to highs” since his election in November.

Read: How analysts say you should trade Trump’s speech to Congress

And: How the U.S. stock market has reacted to State of the Union speeches

National indexes: France’s CAC 40 /zigman2/quotes/210597958/delayed FR:PX1 +1.78%  tacked on 0.3% to close at 4,858.58, while the U.K.’s FTSE 100 /zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed UK:UKX +1.09% edged up 0.1% to end at 7,263.44. Germany’s DAX 30 /zigman2/quotes/210597999/delayed DX:DAX +1.95%  gained 0.1% to finish at 11,834.41.

Economic data: French consumer spending rose 0.6% January, led by a jump in household spending on heating.

French inflation slowed unexpectedly in February as prices of manufactured goods declined. The country’s Consumer Price Index rose 1.2% after January’s rise of 1.3%.

Consumer confidence in the U.K. fell in February, a survey by GfK showed, a sign that personal finances may be being squeezed by a rise in inflation from the fall of the pound after the Brexit vote.

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+5.65 +1.22%
Volume: 0.00
Dec. 1, 2021 4:41p
UK : U.K.: London
740.80 p
+3.20 +0.43%
Volume: 550,359
Dec. 1, 2021 3:41p
P/E Ratio
Dividend Yield
Market Cap
£5.74 billion
Rev. per Employee
FR : France: Euronext Paris
-0.14 -0.19%
Volume: 338,052
Dec. 1, 2021 4:41p
P/E Ratio
Dividend Yield
Market Cap
€15.43 billion
Rev. per Employee
FR : France: Euronext Paris
+2.04 +2.07%
Volume: 1.31M
Dec. 1, 2021 4:41p
P/E Ratio
Dividend Yield
Market Cap
€77.58 billion
Rev. per Employee
FR : France: Euronext Paris
+119.52 +1.78%
Volume: 56,450
Dec. 1, 2021 4:41p
+77.06 +1.09%
Volume: 403,984
Dec. 1, 2021 3:41p
DX : Xetra Indices
+294.17 +1.95%
Volume: 56,017
Dec. 1, 2021 4:41p

Carla Mozée is a reporter for MarketWatch, based in London. Follow her on Twitter @MWMozee. Victor Reklaitis is a London-based markets writer for MarketWatch. Follow him on Twitter @VicRek.

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