Updated March 8th, 2024 at 16:20 IST

European shares gain ground, boosted by financial, energy shares

The pan-European STOXX 600 index climbed 0.2 per cent, marking fresh record highs and potentially securing its seventh consecutive week of gains.

Reported by: Business Desk
The pan-European STOXX 600 index climbed 0.2 per cent | Image:Unsplash
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European shares witnessed a positive uptick on Friday, set for weekly gains driven by strength in financial and energy sectors, while investors eagerly awaited key economic data from both the eurozone and the United States.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index climbed 0.2 per cent, marking fresh record highs and potentially securing its seventh consecutive week of gains.

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Financial services emerged as the top performer among sectors, with the financial services index surging 1.1 per cent, led by a notable 4.2 per cent rise in UBS shares. The Swiss bank announced plans to shutter 85 branches in Switzerland by 2025 as part of its cost-cutting strategy.

Oil and gas shares also contributed to the positive sentiment, adding 0.9 per cent as crude prices advanced on robust demand from major consumers like the United States and China.

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Investor focus remained on key economic releases, including the eurozone's revised Q4 GDP numbers and the February US nonfarm payrolls data, offering insights into the economy's resilience amid growing expectations of rate cuts.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell's recent comments suggesting the central bank's readiness to address falling inflation bolstered market sentiment, with traders anticipating potential policy easing starting in June.

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Similarly, European Central Bank policymaker Francois Villeroy de Galhau hinted at forthcoming interest rate cuts, stating that rates could be lowered "from April until June 21," further underpinning market optimism.

In corporate news, Rubis shares surged 7.4 per cent following the French liquid products distributor's better-than-expected annual results. DS Smith shares also saw a notable increase of 7.6 per cent after British packaging firm Mondi made a bid to acquire the company for 5.14 billion pounds, although Mondi's shares dipped 1.3 per cent.

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Conversely, shares in HelloFresh plummeted 47.7 per cent after the German meal-kit maker announced a disappointing 2024 forecast, falling well below market expectations and prompting the scrapping of its mid-term targets.

As European markets continue to navigate economic developments and corporate news, investors remain vigilant for further insights into market trends and potential catalysts influencing future market movements.

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(With Reuters inputs)

 

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Published March 8th, 2024 at 16:20 IST