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European stocks higher; UBS leads banking sector with CEO reappointment

Published 03/29/2023, 03:44 AM
Updated 03/29/2023, 04:13 AM
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By Peter Nurse 

Investing.com - European stock markets traded higher Wednesday, with UBS leading the banking sector higher after the Swiss lender recruited a former boss to lead the Credit Suisse integration.

At 03:55 ET (07:55 GMT), the DAX index in Germany traded 0.5% higher, the CAC 40 in France climbed 0.8% and the FTSE 100 in the U.K. rose 0.4%.

Banking giant UBS (SIX:UBSG) stock rose over 2% Wednesday, helping the region’s banking sector post gains, after announcing former boss Sergio Ermotti as its next chief executive officer, tasking him with steering through its takeover of struggling peer Credit Suisse.

Ermotti, the current chairman of Swiss Re (SIX:SRENH), had been the chief executive from 2011 to 2020, guiding the business during the fallout from the 2007/08 financial crisis. He will replace current Chief Executive Ralph Hamers from April 5.  

Confidence is building that the turmoil surrounding the global banking sector may be coming to an end, with officials on both sides of the Atlantic keen to reassure the markets of the underlying strength of the industry.

Fed Vice Chair for Supervision Michael Barr told a Senate Banking Committee hearing on Tuesday that the U.S. system is “sound and resilient.”

European Central Bank officials have also spoken at length about the strength of the European banking regulatory system, with Governing Council member Gediminas Simkus praising the “high capital buffers, high liquidity and growing profitability from rising interest rates,” earlier this week.

The forward-looking GfK German consumer climate index came in at -29.5 for April, an improvement from the revised -30.6 the prior month, adding to signs that confidence in Europe's largest economy is growing following the surprising strength of the Ifo release earlier this week.

In other corporate news, Next (LON:NXT) stock slumped over 7% after the British clothing retailer warned that it expects sales and profit to fall this year, as the post-pandemic boost from the release of pent-up demand fades. This note of caution came despite the company beating its own guidance for full-year profit after stronger-than-expected clearance sales at New Year.

Infineon (ETR:IFXGn) climbed 7.5% after the German chipmaker raised its full-year outlook, while Mercedes Benz (ETR:MBGn) slipped 2.3% on news that Kuwait's sovereign wealth fund is planning to reduce its stake in the German luxury carmaker.

Oil prices rose Wednesday, climbing for the third day in a row after industry data showed a surprisingly large draw in U.S. crude stocks, pointing to tighter supply in the near-term.

U.S. crude oil inventories fell by just over 6 million barrels in the week ended on March 24, according to data from the American Petroleum Institute, compared with an expected small rise.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration will release its official weekly report later in the session.

By 03:55 ET, U.S. crude futures traded 0.9% higher at $73.84 a barrel, while the Brent contract climbed 0.5% to $78.56. 

Additionally, gold futures fell 0.6% to $1,979.50/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.1% lower at 1.0835.

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