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European shares edge higher, focus shifts to central banks, politics

Stock Markets Feb 26, 2018 05:29AM ET
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© Reuters. The German share price index, DAX board, is seen at the stock exchange in Frankfurt
 
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By Julien Ponthus and Alasdair Pal

LONDON (Reuters) - European shares traded higher on Monday morning with gains across bourses and sectors as focus gradually shifts from the earnings season to monetary policy and politics with Italy's election on Sunday.

While the ECB President Mario Draghi is to make a speech at the European Parliament on Monday afternoon, the new U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell is to give his first House testimony on Tuesday.

At 0945 GMT, the pan-European STOXX benchmark index (STOXX) was up 0.54 percent at 383.20 points in lower than usual volumes after Asian shares made guarded gains.

"There's a sense of a beaten up squeeze behind the rally this morning", a trader commented as a number of shares which investors have often bet against, enjoyed strong gains without any corporate announcement apparently justifying the rise.

He mentioned Satellite firms SES (LU:SESFg), up 9.4 percent, German drugs packaging firm Gerresheimer's (DE:GXIG) up 2.7 percent or France's pipe maker Vallourec (PA:VLL) up 4.5 percent.

Nordic telecom companies Nokia (HE:NOKIA) and Ericsson (ST:ERICb) were up 4.1 percent and 3.8 percent respectively.

Expectations for the next-generation 5G networks are on the rise after Nokia' CEO said that major telecom operators were accelerating their timelines for adopting next-generation 5G networks by up to a year.

Consumers staples, basic materials and health care added the sectors adding most points to the index.

Deutsche Bank (DE:DBKGn) rose 0.7 percent after it said it would float its asset management arm DWS on the Frankfurt stock exchange, as it fights to regain investor trust afters years of scandals and restructuring.

Lloyd's of London underwriter Hiscox (L:HSX) posted the worst performance of the index with a 4.7 percent fall after it reported a fall of more than 90 percent in full-year pretax profit, as it faced the costliest year ever for insurers and reinsurers due to natural disasters.

Bank of Ireland (I:BIRG) was down 2.9 percent. The lender said it would resume dividend payments for the first time since the financial crisis and reported underlying profits steady at 1.1 billion euros.

Outside the STOXX 600, shares in Dutch postal company PostNL (AS:PTNL) sank 16 percent after it lowered its cash operating income target for 2020.

European shares edge higher, focus shifts to central banks, politics
 

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