Wednesday, July 2, 2014 3:28 pm
LONDON – European stock markets broadly crept ahead on Wednesday but lost some ground in afternoon trading despite strong US jobs data and on the eve of a eurozone interest rate decision.
Trading was marked also by several initial public offerings in Europe.
Wall Street opened on a steady note after breaking record highs on Tuesday and reacting calmly to strong US jobs data which pushed up the dollar.
In early afternoon deals, London’s benchmark FTSE 100 index rose 0.15 percent to stand at 6,813.42 points.
Frankfurt’s DAX 30 edged up 0.04 percent to 9,906.39 points but eased back from early gains, and the CAC 40 in Paris retreated from early gains for a loss of 0.51 percent percent to 4,438.31 compared with Tuesday’s closing level.
The euro fell to $1.3648 from $1.3677 late on Tuesday in New York, while the pound hit another near six-year high at $1.7147 on expectations of a British interest rate rise.
Asian markets also advanced on Wednesday, taking a strong lead from a record close on Wall Street which was buoyed by solid Chinese manufacturing data.
Later on Wednesday, investors will digest a speech from US Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen for clues on the interest rate outlook.
Seasonally adjusted US private sector jobs data on Wednesday showed the biggest increase of 281,000 since November 2012, far above the expected figure of 200,000.
That data came ahead of the government’s employment report on Thursday.
– IPO’s in spotlight –
“Today is likely to be a day of holding back ahead of tomorrow’s key events, principally the US employment report together with the European Central Bank meeting,” said economist Simon Smith at broker FXPro.
US financial markets will be closed on Friday for Independence Day.
The European Central Bank will also announce the outcome of its monetary policy meeting on Thursday, but is expected to sit tight one month after launching anti-deflationary measures and negative deposit interest rates.
In company news on Wednesday, telecom shares slid in Paris after Orange said it had decided not to play a role in consolidating the French telecoms market, with the effect that it would not buy its French rival Bouygues Telecom.
The news sent shares in Orange — formerly known as France Telecom — down 2.88 percent to 11.455 euros.
Bouygues shares shed 2.65 percent to 13.75 euros. Stock in Iliad which owns Free fell by 4.01 percent, and Numericable shares were down 3.70 percent.
In Brussels, EU anti-trust authorities cleared the sale of German E-plus, a unit of Dutch KPN, to Spanish group Telefonica, in another significant decision concerning consolidation of the European telecoms sector.
In Paris, an initial public offering for professional social media firm Viadeo flopped with the shares falling 17.25 percent to 14.15 euros. This followed weak starts for recent French launches of Euronext stock market operator, and Worldline, the payments terminal activities of computer service consultancy Atos.
Analysts said this reflected a glut of such issues and reluctance of investors to risk over-paying.
In the Netherlands however, shares in NN Group insurance company shot up 5.0 percent to 21.07 euros in an IPO by ING bank.
In Milan, an IPO for Fineco, the online banking branch of UniCredit, went well, with the shares surging 6.49 percent to 3.94 euros.
In Paris, shares in biology company Metabolic Explorer (METEX) leapt 39.69 percent to 3.59 euros after it signed an agreement with South Korean firm SK Chemicals.
Asian stock markets advanced on Wednesday as a weaker yen helped Tokyo add to the previous day’s healthy gains.
Japanese stocks rose 0.29 percent, Sydney added 1.48 percent and Seoul put on 0.81 percent, while Shanghai ended 0.44-percent higher and Hong Kong was up 1.55 percent.
– Jobs data boosts dollar –
US shares had climbed overnight in response to news out of China that a survey of manufacturing activity in June hit the highest level this year, suggesting a growth slowdown may have bottomed out.
Traders were also boosted by surprisingly strong figures for US auto sales.
New York’s Dow Jones Industrial Average index climbed 0.77 percent and the S&P 500 added 0.67 percent — both ending at all-time highs. The Nasdaq jumped 1.14 percent.
In foreign exchange trading, the euro slipped to 79.57 British pence from 79.75 pence Tuesday. It was steady at 138.81 yen from 138.88 on Tuesday, but the dollar rose to 101.71 yen from 101.53.
Analysts attributed the rise of the dollar to the strong US job creation data on Wednesday.
The yuan was at 6.2103 to the dollar from 6.2013 on Tuesday.
On the London Bullion Market, the price of gold dipped to $1,326.26 an ounce from $1,327.50 on Tuesday.