Record-breaking German stock index tops 13,000 points
The export-oriented index <.GDAXI>, the biggest in the euro zone with a market value of 1.2 trillion euros, rose as much as 0.2 percent to 13,002 points before ending up 0.1 percent, while the broader pan-European STOXX 600 <.STOXX> index was flat.
The DAX is up 13 percent so far this year and is on course to end its sixth straight year of gains, as equities in the region found support in years of expansionary monetary policies and signs of continued strength in corporate earnings.
On Thursday it got an extra lift as the euro pulled back and worries eased over a big political crisis in Spain after an illegal independence referendum in wealthy region Catalonia.
"Favourable market conditions, relief on the back of a reduced threat of Catalonian secession and record low interest rates and QE combined has helped lift the DAX to a new record level today," FOREX.com analyst Fawad Razaqzada said.
"The DAX's rally could accelerate in the event the euro eases back from current levels, as this would boost the appeal of German exporters," he also said.
Yet for some investors the rally in German stocks could lose some steam.
Deutsche Bank strategists including Wolf von Rotberg and Sebastian Raedler on Thursday reduced their overweight on German equities following a 3 percent outperformance since August.
They also increased their underweight on French stocks to fund an upgrade of Spanish stocks to overweight from underweight saying the recent developments in the Catalonia crisis reduced the risks of a break up of the country.
The biggest gainer on Thursday on the DAX was Lufthansa (>> Deutsche Lufthansa), which ended up 2.3 percent.
The company reinforced its position as Germany's largest airline on Thursday by signing a 210 million euro deal to buy large parts of insolvent Air Berlin (>> Air Berlin Plc).
EasyJet (>> EasyJet), the other airline that has been negotiating to buy assets from Air Berlin, rose 2.5 percent.
Volkswagen (>> Volkswagen) rose 1 percent after un upgrade from Bernstein which cited "very attractive" pricing and earnings that would probably rise faster than expected.
In Britain, Just Eat (>> Just Eat) rose 6.5 percent to a new record high as British competition authorities gave a provisional go-ahead to its acquisition of Hungryhouse.
Britain's top FTSE share index <.FTSE> ended at a record close, up 0.3 percent. Behind the surge was a fresh fall in the sterling after the European Union's chief negotiator Michel Barnier said Brexit talks were in deadlock.
(Reporting by Danilo Masoni; Additional reporting by Julien Ponthus; Editing by Alison Williams)
By Danilo Masoni