by Diana Mandia
(Reuters) – European stocks ended higher on Wednesday, boosted in particular by technology and banks, which benefited from the optimistic outlook of chipmaker Infineon and the arrival of a new leader at UBS.
In Paris, the CAC 40 ended up 1.39% at 7,186.99 points. The British Footsie gained 1.07% and the German Dax 1.23%.
The EuroStoxx 50 index for its part ended with a gain of 1.51%, the FTSEurofirst 300 of 1.25% and the Stoxx 600 of 1.3%.
The surprise appointment of Sergio Ermotti as chairman and CEO of UBS was hailed by the markets on Wednesday, the current chairman of the reinsurer Swiss Re having to pilot from April 5 the acquisition by the Zurich bank of its rival Credit Suisse .
However, the trend remains cautious ahead of several European macroeconomic indicators expected later this week: preliminary German and Spanish inflation figures for March will be released on Thursday, before those for France and the entire euro zone on Friday.
Core inflation – which excludes energy and food prices, the most volatile items – is expected to post a new record high of 5.7% in countries sharing the euro.
Peter Kazimir, member of the Governing Council of the European Central Bank (ECB) and Philip Lane, chief economist of the institution, ruled on Wednesday that interest rates should rise further to contain rising prices.
The banks index on the Stoxx 600 finished with a gain of 1.92% and that of financial services 1.82%. UBS, supported by the announcement of its future CEO, advanced 3.7%.
The new technologies compartment, already supported by the reorganization of the Chinese giant Alibaba announced the day before, ended up 2.67%, with in particular the chipmaker Infineon (+6.9%) which raised its financial forecasts for the whole year.
In its wake, STMicroelectronics took 6.4%, ASML Holding 3%, ASM International 4.1% and BE Semiconductor Industries 3.3%.
The satellite operator SES won 3.7% in Paris on Wednesday, the Luxembourg group and its American competitor Intelsat having started discussions with a view to a possible merger.
Atos, the red lantern of the SBF 120, on the other hand plunged by 16.7% after Airbus decided to end its project to acquire a stake in Evidian, the future branch of digital and cybersecurity activities of the group.
Mercedes-Benz, penalized by a possible partial disengagement of the Kuwaiti sovereign wealth fund from its capital, dropped 2.1%.
AT WALL STREET
At the time of the close in Europe, the Dow Jones gained 0.52%, the Standard & Poor’s 500 0.91% and the Nasdaq 1.20% as hopes grew that the Fed would suspend interest rate hikes in May support technology and growth stocks.
THE INDICATORS OF THE DAY
A survey by the GfK institute showed on Wednesday that while German consumer sentiment is expected to pick up in April with falling energy prices, a lasting improvement is still a long way off, with the pace of improvement having slowed noticeably by compared to previous months.
In France, the household confidence index fell slightly again in March, according to the monthly business survey published on Wednesday by INSEE.
The “dollar index”, which measures the variations of the greenback against a basket of currencies, rose slightly (+0.25%) and the euro posted a small decline of 0.04% to 1.0843 dollars in a context relative calm in the markets.
Strongly higher in recent sessions, bond yields eased on Wednesday, with ten-year US Treasury yields falling 1.2 basis points to 3.55%.
That of the German Bund of the same maturity advanced by four basis points to 2.328%.
Oil prices turned lower on Wednesday as they rose for the third session in a row on supply concerns with the suspension of crude exports from Iraqi Kurdistan.
Brent fell 0.55% to 78.22 dollars a barrel and US light crude (West Texas Intermediate, WTI) lost 0.3% to 73 dollars.
TO BE FOLLOWED ON THURSDAY:
(Edited by Blandine Hénault)
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