EUROPE MARKETS: European Stocks Rise For 5th Session In A Row, Stay At Highest Since 2015

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01/09/2018 | 11:27 am

By Carla Mozee, MarketWatch

German data beats forecasts, helps maintain positive investing mood

European stocks climbed for a fifth session on Tuesday, as upbeat German economic data and a major strategic move by French telecoms and cable group Altice NV cheered investors. Equities in the region stayed around their highest levels since 2015.

What are markets doing: The Stoxx Europe 600 index gained 0.3% to 399.63. All sectors rose, led by gains for the basic materials, tech and telecom sectors. On Monday, the index rose 0.3% and closed at its highest since July 2015, according to FactSet data.

The pan-European benchmark was on track to pierce the 400 level for the first time since mid-2015, according to FactSet data.

In Frankfurt on Tuesday, the DAX 30 index added 0.2% to reach 13,394.60, wavering around a two-month high. France's CAC 40 was up 0.5% at 5,515.99.

Spain's IBEX 35 turned higher, rising 0.5% to 10,445.80, and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index picked up 0.3% at 7,720.96, on course for a fresh record close.

The euro traded at $1.1941, lower than $1.1968 late Monday in New York.

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What's driving the market: The upbeat sentiment that has lifted global stocks since the start of the new year still has a grip on the market. Traders are finding little to derail them from riding last year's rally higher, focusing on the solid economic outlook instead.

A batch of German economic data out Tuesday added to that positive backdrop. German industrial output far outstripped forecasts with growth of 3.4% in November , suggesting Europe's largest economy may have performed better than anticipated in 2017.

Fresh figures on German trade also came in stronger than expected. Germany's statistics office also said the country's adjusted trade balance stood at 22.3 billion euros ($26.7 billion) in November.

What strategists are saying

"European markets are trading higher as investors have reacted to positive German industrial data. The number was simply astonishing, and it printed the reading of 3.4% when the market was expecting a number of 1.8%," said Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at Think Markets UK, in a note.

"However, the euro-dollar pair is still facing it's inevitable correction, and this is purely because traders are quick on their feet to take some profit off the table" after the pair recently hit $1.2083, he said. "The strong rebound in the dollar may keep the pressure on the euro for a while, but we are not expecting any major selloff."

Stock movers: Altice shares (>> Altice) popped up 5.1%, paring an intraday gain of 10%, after the company late Monday said it plans to spin off its controlling stake in its U.S. arm as part of a broader reorganization. Altice will split the company in two: Altice Europe, which would include its international holdings, and Altice USA Inc.

"At the core of our strategy is the operational and financial turnaround in France and Portugal," said Altice in a statement.

Wm. Morrison Supermarkets PLC shares (>> Wm Morrison Supermarkets) climbed 3% as the company said like-for-like sales, excluding fuel, rose 2.8% during the Christmas period. The company, the first U.K. supermarket operator to report its trading performance after the Christmas season, also backed its fiscal 2018 guidance .

Among decliners, Steinhoff International Holdings NV fell 6.5% and French facilities and food services company Sodexo SA (>> Sodexo) was down 2.6%.

Salvatore Ferragamo SA shares (>> Salvatore Ferragamo) dropped 1.7% after UBS downgraded the luxury-goods maker to sell from neutral, "on fears that the pace of like-for-like recovery in 2018 may disappoint."

Economic data: France's trade deficit widened to EUR5.7 billion in November as exports of energy products and transport equipment fell sharply.

In November, unemployment in the eurozone was at 8.7%, Eurostat said Tuesday. The reading met FactSet consensus expectations, and marked the lowest level since January 2009.

Stocks mentioned in the article : Altice, Sodexo, Salvatore Ferragamo, Wm Morrison Supermarkets
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