- Markets push into positive territory after mostly flat session
- Eurozone CPI unchanged at 1.6 per cent in July
- Trade surplus wides in June
FTSE 100: 0.26%
CAC 40: 0.75%
FTSE MIB: 1.23%
IBEX 35: 0.96%
Stoxx 600: 0.28%
European markets finished higher across the board after a quiet start, with bargain hunters stepping in to pick up the pieces after recent weakness.
The Stoxx 600 index finished 0.3% higher today after having dropped 1.1% yesterday as concerns about a tapering of stimulus in the US were ignited by a fall in jobless claims.
"Volumes within the markets remain depressingly thin today as the peak of summer holidays continues to take its toll. Thus, in reality, it is proving especially difficult to analyse the impact of tapering fears as there are only a few traders actually left in the markets," said Financial Trader Shavaz Dhalla from Spreadex.
Markets barely moved earlier in the session after data showed Eurozone inflation remained unchanged and below the European Central Bank 's (ECB) 2.0% target rate in July.
The Eurozone consumer price index (CPI) remained stable at 1.6% year-on-year, in line with consensus estimates. Also as expected, the monthly contraction in prices came in at -0.5%.
"In the Eurozone, we expect the low rate of headline and core inflation to encourage the ECB to loosen monetary policy further later this year," said Andrew Kenningham, Senior Global Economist at Capital Economics.
Other data today showed that the single-currency region's trade surplus widened to €17.3bn in June, up from €14.5bn the previous month.
Banks rise across the continent; Lufthansa drops after downgrade
Banking stocks were performing well across European markets today with BNP Paribas, Credit Agricole and Societe Generale leading the way in Paris, Commerzbank and Deutsche Bank rising in Frankfurt and Banco de Sabadell advancing in Madrid.
Banks in Italy meanwhile were standout performers with shares
of Intesa Sanpaolo, Banca Popolare di Milano and Mediobanca surging, helping Milan's FTSE MIB index outperform other benchmarks in Europe today.
German airline Deutsche Lufthansa was flying lower today after being hit with a downgrade by Morgan Stanley from 'overweight' to 'equalweight'. The broker said that while the company showed improvements in the second quarter, "uncertainty around the top-line trends, coupled with a lack of clear catalysts in the near-term quarters, leads us to move to EW on a relative peer basis".
Danish shipping and oil group AP Moller-Maersk gained after posting higher second quarter profits and saying it expects full-year adjusted net income to be €3.5bn, ahead of its previous €2.9bn forecast.
Telekom Austria tumbled following reports the company may sell €1.0bn of new equity.
Portugal Telecom dropped as Goldman Sachs downgraded the shares to 'neutral' from 'buy'.
Fresnillo and Randgold Resources rallied in London after gold and silver prices extended their recent gains.