Thursday, August 23, 2012

European stock markets august 23 2012

European stock markets august 23 2012 : European stocks trimmed gains on Thursday, following the release of euro zone manufacturing activity data, but sentiment remained supported by fresh hopes for further stimulus measures by the Federal Reserve.

During European afternoon trade, the EURO STOXX 50 eased up 0.03%, France’s CAC 40 added 0.10%, while Germany’s DAX 30 edged 0.09% higher.

The minutes of the Fed’s August policy meeting showed that many policymakers think additional easing may be warranted "fairly soon" unless there is evidence of a "substantial and sustainable" strengthening in the economic recovery.

The possibility for a third round of stimulus from the U.S. central bank overshadowed weak economic data out of the euro zone and China.

A report earlier showed that manufacturing activity in the euro zone improved in August, but remained in contraction territory for the 12th consecutive month, while service sector activity slumped to a two-month low.

A separate report showed that manufacturing activity in China slumped to a nine-month low in August, adding to concerns over a slowdown in the world’s second largest economy.

Financial stocks remained broadly higher, as shares in German lenders Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank advanced 1.78% and 1.49% respectively, while France’s Societe Generale and BNP Paribas rallied 1.60% and 0.57%.

Spanish banks underperformed on the other hand, with BBVA and Banco Santander dropping 1.08% and 0.56%, as the yield on Spanish 10-year government bonds were once again hovering above the 6% threshold.

Elsewhere, Heineken saw shares surge 2.43% after Bank of America upgraded the Dutch brewer to buy from neutral. Societe Generale also raised its recommendation to buy, while Nomura Holdings lifted its rating to neutral.

On the downside, Ahold, the Dutch owner of Stop & Shop grocery stores, plunged 3.07%, as the company reported lower-than-expected second quarter earnings.

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