European stocks flat, euro falls

European stocks flat, euro falls

Thursday, June 26, 2014 3:05 pm

LONDON (AFP) – Europe’s main stock markets mostly flattened on Thursday, with some support coming from gains across Asia and on Wall Street the previous day despite poor US growth data, analysts said.

London’s FTSE 100 index of top companies rose 0.11 percent to stand at 6,740.73 points around midday in the British capital.

Frankfurt’s DAX 30 was flat at 9,867.99 points and the CAC 40 in Paris was also unchanged at 4,460.63 compared with Wednesday’s closing levels.

The euro fell to $1.3617, down from $1.3628 late in New York on Wednesday.

“European shares are trading little changed to slightly higher, receiving a boost from firmer markets overnight in the US and Asia,” said Markus Huber, senior analyst at traders Peregrine & Black.

Wall Street also opened on a steady note.

In foreign exchange deals, the British pound jumped to $1.7007 from $1.6982 on Wednesday, as the Bank of England tightened rules on home loans which the market saw as further evidence that it would soon also start to raise interest rates.

The euro fell to 80.06 British pence from 80.24 pence.

On the London Bullion Market, the price of gold dropped to $1,309 an ounce from $1,316.75 on Wednesday.

On the corporate front, shares in Barclays slid 5.19 percent to 218 pence after New York prosecutors sued the British bank for fraud — the latest blow to hit the scandal-hit company.

Prosecutors said Barclays had promised clients that it would protect them from aggressive high-speed trading firms in so-called ‘dark pools’, but at the same time took steps that benefited these firms.

On the upside, London Stock Exchange Group surged 6.47 percent to 1,991 pence as the company said it had agreed to buy US asset manager Russell for $2.7 billion in order to diversify and grow its business in the United States.

The deal, worth the equivalent of 1.98 billion euros, also involves LSEG buying Russell’s index business from parent NorthWestern Mutual.

The British group said it would raise $1.6 billion from the sale of new shares to help fund the deal.

On Wall Street, the benchmark Dow Jones index edged up 0.02 percent and the Nasdaq slipped by 0.01 percent. On Wednesday both indices had rallied despite data showing a strong contraction of the US economy in the first quarter.

Asian stock markets climbed on Thursday, boosted by bargain hunting and a positive lead from Wall Street that came despite a worse-than-expected first quarter contraction in the US economy.

On Wednesday, the US Commerce Department had reported that the US economy shrank by 2.9 percent in the first three months of 2014, sharply worse than the previous estimate of a 1.0-percent decline.

The figure is the worst since the height of the global financial crisis five years ago. But it was widely brushed off by economists, who described it as a blip caused by the severe winter at the start of the year which hammered, among other things, jobs growth and retail sales.

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