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Europe midday: Stocks edge higher ahead of central bank decisions

By Alexander Bueso

Date: Monday 17 Jun 2019

Europe midday: Stocks edge higher ahead of central bank decisions

(Sharecast News) - Stocks have started the week on the front foot, with investors looking out to a spate of central bank policy decisions over the next few days, including in the US, UK and Japan.
"There does appear to be a growing belief that for all of the growing concern about a global economic slowdown, that central banks will step up to the plate and ease policy, in the coming months," said Michael Hewson at CMC Markets UK.

To take note of, at the weekend, US commerce secretary Wilbur Ross reportedly downplayed the prospects for a meeting between Donald Trump and his opposite number in China, Xi Jinping, at the upcoming G 20 leaders' summit in Fukuoka, Japan, on 28-29 June.

Against that backdrop, as of noon, the benchmark Stoxx 600 was up by 0.02% to 378.89, alongside a gain of 0.07% to 12,104.88 for the German Dax, while the FTSE Mibtel was dding 0.20% to 20,652.51.

Front month Brent crude oil futures were down by 0.57% to $61.66 a barrel on the ICE.

Ross's comments were interpreted by some observers as an attempt to keep investors from getting ahead of themselves.

On the other side of the equation, and also over the weekend, China's press appeared to keep up a steady stream of defiant commentary and articles.

An editorial in Chinese journal Qiushi stated that "China will not be afraid of any threats or pressure the United States is making" while the South China Morning Post ran an article blaming Japan's economic problems on the the US tariffs placed on its semiconductor industry in the 80s.

On the economic side of things, Eurostat reported that Eurozone labour costs grew at a year-on-year clip of 2.4% over the first three months of 2019, versus a pace of 2.3% at the end of 2018.

"Overall, these are encouraging headlines [...] wage growth in the EZ should now be picking up, in response to a tighter labour market, but the pace remains uneven across countries," said Claus Vistesen, chief Eurozone economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics.

Lufthansa was one of the top fallers, with its shares falling by over 11% - the most in three years - after the airline lowered its profit forecast for 2019 on the back of lower sales at its low-cost Eurowings unit.

Fashion retailer Hennes&Mauritz was also on the back foot, despite posting better-than-expected sales for the three months to 31 May.

Airbus stock on the other hand continued to gain altitude after the aircraft manufacturer unveiled a launch order for 100 of its new A321XLR long-range jets for a list price of roughly $11bn at the Paris Air Show.

Deutsche Bank was moving higher against a falling market on the back of reports that it was planning to overhaul its investment banking activities, including by creating a so-called bad bank that will hold tens of billions of euro in non-core assets and trimming its US equities business.


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