Written by 4:54 pm Europe Economy

Europe close: Stocks edge higher helped by economic data

European shares were higher at the start of the week before Christmas as Argentina celebrated a famous football World Cup win and Twitter investors waited to see if boss Elon Musk would step down as CEO after a poll of followers came down in favour of the move.

Better-than-expected readings for German business confidence and euro area construction likely also helped on the margin.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 index was up 0.34% at 426.20.

After last weeks data deluge and several rate hike decisions, traders were expecting a quieter few days before the festive break.

“The next two weeks are quiet, as is to be expected, which at least gives some scope for a Santa rally, but after the tough year stocks have endured any bounce will likely be relatively weak,” said IG chief market analyst Chris Beauchamp.

Energy stocks were higher on the back of rising oil prices driven by hopes of a recovery in demand from China after the country relaxed several strict Covid-19 control measures. BP and Shell were both standout gainers.

Meanwhile Twitter chief executive Musk launched a poll on Sunday asking users whether he should step down as head of the company, adding that he would abide by the result.

Just over 57% of 17.5 million voters had said that Musk should resign when the poll closed.

In other equity news, Freenet rose 6% after Deutsche Bank raised its rating on the German-based telecom provider’s stock to ‘buy’ from ‘hold’.

The IFO institute’s business confidence index increased from a reading of 86.4 for November to 88.6 in December, edging past forecasts for a reading of 87.4.

In parallel, Eurostat announced that euro area construction jumped at a month-on-month pace of 1.3% in October.

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