Friday, March 30, 2012

European stock markets march 30 2012

European stock markets march 30 2012, DAX index march 30 2012, CAC 40 Index march 30 2012, London's FTSE 100 Index march 30 2012 ; European stock markets opened higher Friday, as bargain hunters entered the market following three days of declines. London's FTSE 100 Index opened 0.3% points higher at 5672.44, the DAX index in Frankfurt rose by 0.7% to 6923 and the CAC 40 Index in Paris was up 0.9% at 3412.

Underwhelming U.S. growth, jobless claims and manufacturing data Thursday, and evidence of a slowdown in China, underlined recent fears of a deteriorating global demand outlook. However, bargain hunters were looking to pick up some undervalued names amid the pessimism, said Jonathan Sudaria, a dealer at Capital Spreads.

"The strength of the rebound in U.S. markets may offer some indication of the possible gains on offer today [Friday], as U.S. markets initially opened sharply lower but rebounded strongly with the Dow Jones Industrial Average managing to close a full 1% off its intraday lows," Mr. Sudaria said. Overall, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 19.61 points, or 0.1% to 13145.82, while the Standard & Poor's 500 stock index lost 2.26 points or 0.2% to 1403.28.

Mr. Sudaria noted that as the month of March and the first quarter come to an end, equities have posted impressive performances. However, the upward trajectory has started to get a little rocky. "With fears of the euro-zone debt crisis resurfacing, Chinese growth starting to wobble and an uncertain U.S. earnings season ahead, only the perma bulls are confident that the second quarter will repeat the prior's performance," he added.

On Friday, investors will be paying close attention to the Eurogroup meeting and whether an increase in the euro zone's financial firewall will be confirmed. Euro-zone governments are debating whether to combine the lending capacity of the temporary European Financial Stability Facility, used to rescue Portugal, Ireland and Greece, with the permanent European Stability Mechanism.

The proposal will be presented to finance ministers meeting Friday and Saturday in Copenhagen amid growing concerns about Spain's finances, alongside its neighbor, bailed-out Portugal. Germany looks set to remain cautious about a large increase in the bailout fund. The country's Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble said Thursday that a firewall with a total size of around €800 billion ($1.064 trillion) is sufficient, and spending more money won't solve the debt crisis.

Asian stock markets traded in a soft manner Friday, with caution prevailing amid a lack of positive catalysts and weak industrial production data in Japan depressing Tokyo shares. The mood in markets remained subdued amid persistent global growth worries, though the Shanghai market recovered a little after a heavy selloff this week. Japan's Nikkei Stock Average fell 0.6%, while Australia's S&P/ASX 200 and South Korea's Kospi Composite were both flat. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index fell 0.6%, while China's Shanghai Composite rose 0.2%.

In foreign exchange markets, the euro was higher following Thursday's falls and was also helped by gains against the yen. The common currency was recently at $1.3349, from $1.3303. The dollar was fetching ¥81.89, from ¥82.43 late Thursday in New York, while the euro was at ¥109.29, from ¥109.67.

Elsewhere, spot gold was at $1,661.6 per troy ounce, up $6.6 from its New York settlement on Thursday. May Nymex crude oil futures were up 50 cents at $103.28 a barrel and May Brent oil futures were up 34 cents at $122.73. In the bond markets, the June bund contract was up six ticks at 138.36.

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