Europe Markets: Retailers send European stocks higher after strong Next update
European stocks moved broadly higher on Wednesday, taking inspiration from record closes in the U.S. in the previous session and a strong trading day in Asia.
Retailers were among biggest gainers in the region after an upbeat trading update from U.K. fashion and home chain Next PLC.
What are markets doing: The Stoxx Europe 600 index SXXP, +0.25% climbed 0.4% to 399.73, rebounding from a 0.2% decline on Tuesday.
Germany’s DAX 30 index DAX, +0.28% rose 0.6% to 12,944.54, while France’s CAC 40 PX1, +0.27% put on 0.4% to 5,310.17.
The U.K.’s FTSE 100 index UKX, +0.02% was flat at around 7,648.35, pressured by a continued rally in the pound. Sterling GBPUSD, -0.1325% bought $ 1.3596, up from $ 1.3589 late Tuesday in New York and trading around the highest level since late September.
The euro EURUSD, -0.3400% slipped to $ 1.2039 from $ 1.2061 on Tuesday, when it reached its highest level since January 2015.
What’s driving the market: Two major U.S. stock benchmarks — the S&P 500 index SPX, +0.83% and Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, +1.50% — closed at records on Tuesday, inspiring an upbeat trading mood in Asia and Europe on Wednesday.
Technology stocks helped lift European markets, after chip makers posted some of the biggest gains in U.S. equity markets Tuesday. The Stoxx Europe 600 Technology Index FX8, +0.72% was up 0.6% on Wednesday.
Retailers were also trading on the front foot after Next PLC NXT, +6.84% rallied 7.4%, following an upbeat trading update on the pre-Christmas period. The U.K. retailer lifted its guidance for the fiscal year ending in January 2018, saying it now expects to report pretax profit of £725 million ($ 983 million) compared with its previous outlook of £717 million.
The Stoxx Europe 600 retail index SXRP, +0.65% was up 0.6%.
Stock movers: Shares of semiconductor companies Siltronic AG WAF, +4.02% and AMS AG AMS, +4.58% posted some of the strongest gains in Europe, rising 3.6% and 3.1%, respectively.
Among retailers, Primark-parent Associated British Foods PLC ABF, +2.41% ASBFY, -1.07% gained 2.7% and Burberry Group PLC BRBY, +0.93% BURBY, -0.17% climbed 1%.
Altice NV ATC, +4.08% jumped 4.4% after the Dutch telecoms company said its Altice-SFR unit has signed a broadcast distribution deal with M6 Group.
Shares in Deutsche Bank DBK, -0.88% fell 0.7%. German publication Handelsblatt said in a post to Twitter that more than 30 investors have sued the bank for 740 million euros, claiming they were paid too little for their Postbank shares in 2010.
Outside the main European benchmark, Carillion PLC CLLN, -4.20% lost 3.8% after the construction company said it is being investigated by the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority in connection with the “timeliness and content of announcements” made by Carillion between December 2016 and July 2017.
Economic news: The number of unemployed people in Germany fell by 29,000 to 2.44 million in December, beating forecasts of a 12,000 drop. The seasonally adjusted jobless rate was 5.5%, unchanged from November.
In the U.K., the construction purchasing managers’ index fell to 52.2 in December from 53.1 in November, missing analyst forecasts.