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European shares end higher on financials boost; Rubis shimmers

Published 03/26/2024, 04:43 AM
Updated 03/26/2024, 01:25 PM
© Reuters. The German share price index DAX graph is pictured at the stock exchange following the IPO of perfume retailer Douglas in Frankfurt, Germany, March 21, 2024. REUTERS/Staff/File Photo

By Shristi Achar A and Johann M Cherian

(Reuters) -Europe's STOXX 600 ended a choppy session at a record closing high on Tuesday, driven primarily by banks, while French liquid products distributor Rubis marked its best day in over three decades.

The continent-wide index closed up 0.2% at 511.09, with the euro zone focused STOXXE index up 0.4%.

The benchmark index was on course to end a second straight quarter with gains in the holiday-shortened week, up 6.7% so far, underscored by central bankers signalling rate cuts this year and a surge in tech stocks due to excitement over artificial intelligence.

"Despite more cautious messages by other ECB members in the past few days, there are clear indications that the Bank is prepared to cut rates this summer and that June remains the most likely meeting," analysts at ING said in a note.

Trader bets for a 25 basis point interest rate cut by the European Central Bank in June stand at 60%. [0#ECBWATCH]

On the day, lenders were the biggest boost to the STOXX 600, up 1.0%, driven by a 1.0% gain in BNP Paribas (OTC:BNPQY) after brokerage Goldman Sachs upgraded the French lender to "buy" from "neutral".

Meanwhile, a survey showed German consumer sentiment is expected to stay on its path of slow recovery in April as fewer households felt the need to save even as uncertainty about Germany's economic development looms.

The German DAX 40 index ended 0.7% higher, while the French benchmark index added 0.4%.

France's Rubis soared 12.5% after Vincent Bolloré increased stake in the liquid products distributor to over 5%, through the businessman's firm Plantations des Terres Rouges. The broader retail sector rose 1.6%.

Travel and leisure stocks climbed 0.7%, helped by a 1.1% rise in Flutter as the online betting firm said it expects to increase its core profit by around 30% this year.

Ocado (LON:OCDO) added 3.2% after the British online supermarket's joint venture Ocado Retail kept its forecasts for the year as it reported a 10.6% increase in first-quarter revenue, reflecting growth in customer numbers.

© Reuters. The German share price index DAX graph is pictured at the stock exchange following the IPO of perfume retailer Douglas in Frankfurt, Germany, March 21, 2024. REUTERS/Staff/File Photo

ASOS (LON:ASOS) jumped 9.4% after the British online fashion retailer said its cash flow in the first half of the year improved due to better profitability and clearance of aged stock.

European markets will be closed on Friday and Monday for Easter holidays.

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