Investor Alert

Europe Markets Archives | Email alerts

Jan. 22, 2018, 12:08 p.m. EST

European stocks log fresh 2-year highs as Spanish, Greek shares climb

Sanofi buying biotech firm for $11.6 billion

Watchlist Relevance

Want to see how this story relates to your watchlist?

Just add items to create a watchlist now:

  • X
    STOXX Europe 600 Index (SXXP)
  • X
    IBEX 35 Index (IBEX)
  • X
    Athex Composite Share Price Index (GD)

or Cancel Already have a watchlist? Log In

By Carla Mozee and Sara Sjolin, MarketWatch

AFP/Getty Images
Employees walk past a logo of the Swiss banking giant UBS in Zurich. UBS said Monday it swung to a quarterly loss.

Europeans stocks pushed higher Monday, with Spanish and Greek shares gaining in the wake of sovereign ratings upgrades and closing at a 5-month and almost three-year highs, respectively.

What did stocks do?: The Stoxx Europe 600 index /zigman2/quotes/210599654/delayed XX:SXXP -3.67% ended up 0.3% at 402.11, closing at its highest since August 2015. Last week, the pan-European gauge rose for a third consecutive week.

Leading major benchmarks was Spain’s IBEX 35 /zigman2/quotes/210597995/delayed XX:IBEX -4.96% as it picked up 1% to 10,584, moving to a level not seen since August. Greece’s Athex Composite /zigman2/quotes/210597948/delayed GR:GD -4.45%  surged 1.3% to 858.12, its strongest close since March 2015.

Germany’s DAX 30 index /zigman2/quotes/210597999/delayed DX:DAX -4.15% rose 0.2% to 13,463.69, leaving the gauge at its highest close since November. France’s CAC 40 /zigman2/quotes/210597958/delayed FR:PX1 -4.75%  moved up 0.3% to 5,541.99.

The U.K.’s FTSE 100 index /zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed UK:UKX -3.64% fell 0.2% to 7,715.44.

The euro /zigman2/quotes/210561242/realtime/sampled EURUSD +0.9635%  bought $1.2236, up from $1.2220 late Friday in New York.

What’s driving markets: Benchmark indexes in Spain and Greece were standouts as investors rewarded ratings upgrades for the countries, issued late Friday. Spain’s credit rating was raised by Fitch Ratings, which cited the country’s “strong, relatively broad-based, economic recovery” as reason for the upgrade to A- from BBB+. The last time Spain held a Fitch rating in the “A” level was in 2012.

Greece’s rating at S&P Global Ratings was raised to B from B-, with a positive outlook. “The upgrade reflects Greece’s steadily improving general government finances and its gradually recovering economic prospects,” wrote S&P. “Still, the size of Greece’s general government debt is an important ratings constraint,” it added.

Meanwhile, politics remained firmly in the spotlight as investors also juggled a fresh round of corporate financial updates, including M&A news. The euro advanced against the U.S. dollar as the U.S. government remained in shutdown mode. Saturday’s closure came after the Republican-led Senate late Friday couldn’t reach a deal over immigration issues.

Euro strength can hurt sales of products made by European exporters and hurt shares of those companies.

The euro had been choppy earlier after members of Germany’s center-left Social Democratic Party on Sunday voted to formally begin coalition talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative party. Merkel has been trying to craft a ruling coalition since September’s election.

On tap this week is the European Central Bank’s meeting on Thursday. The euro in recent sessions has been kicked up to 3-year highs versus the greenback on the prospect the central bank will soon shift to a hawkish tone toward its ultraloose monetary policy.

Read: BOJ and ECB expectations have trader hopes riding high for the yen and the euro

What strategists are saying: “Given that only 56% of the SPD’s voted in favor of the talks, the rejection of a final coalition deal remains a risk that’s likely to keep the euro capped for now,” said Hussein Sayed, chief market strategist at FXTM, in a note.

“The pressure on Democratic and Republican leaders to end the standoff is intense, so market participants are watching for any sign [of] cracks in Democrats’ resolve on immigration status for ‘Dreamers’. The deal on the table is only a ‘stopgap’ though. It will fund spending till early February. That means a breakthrough could be treated as hollow by markets,” said Ken Odeluga, market analyst, at City Index, in a note.

-17.67 -3.67%
Volume: 0.00
Nov. 26, 2021 11:03p
XX : Spain: Madrid
-438.20 -4.96%
Volume: 453.06M
Nov. 26, 2021 5:38p
GR : Athens Exchange
-40.04 -4.45%
Volume: 0.00
Nov. 26, 2021 5:19p
DX : Xetra Indices
-660.94 -4.15%
Volume: 133,308
Nov. 26, 2021 6:30p
FR : France: Euronext Paris
-336.14 -4.75%
Volume: 159,605
Nov. 26, 2021 6:05p
-266.34 -3.64%
Volume: 1.33M
Nov. 26, 2021 4:44p
US : Tullett Prebon
+0.0108 +0.9635%
Volume: 0.0000
Nov. 26, 2021 4:59p
1 2
This Story has 0 Comments
Be the first to comment
More News In

Story Conversation

Commenting FAQs »

Partner Center

World News from MarketWatch

Link to MarketWatch's Slice.