Europe midday: Stocks recover as new car sales rise

France sees return to growth; Europe's new car sales rise in April; US policymakers discuss future stimulus cut

- France sees return to growth

- Europe's new car sales rise in April

- US policymakers discuss future stimulus cut

FTSE 100: 0.32%

Dax-30: 0.05%

Cac-40: 0.26%

FTSE Mibtel 30: 0.27%

Ibex 35: 0.10%

Stoxx 600: 0.01%

European equities recovered from a morning slump as France gave an upbeat outlook and new car sales in Europe rose for the first time in 18 months.

French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici said he sees Europe's second-largest economy recovering in the second half the year.

His remarks followed the release of data from the French statistics office, which showed a contraction of 0.2% in the first three months, following a 0.3% decline the previous quarter.

Separate data on European car sales, however, provided fresh hope to the recession hit region.

Registrations jumped 1.8% to 1.08m in April, compared with a year ago - the first increase since September 2011, according to industry association ACEA.

Results were boosted by strong demand the UK which last month showed an improving economy with a 0.3% rise in gross domestic product (GDP).

US mulls cut to monetary stimulusUS Federal Reserve officials have discussed the future possibility of removing monetary stimulus.

Three officials urged the US central bank to halt bond purchases over the next few months.

Federal Bank of San Francisco President John Williams said economic growth and an improving job market may persuade the central bank to begin to reduce its $85bn of monthly bond purchases.

Lloyds and Morrisons rallyShares in Lloyds Banking Group advanced as the lender exceeded the 61p threshold below which the Treasury has said it would recognise a loss from selling its shares.

Morrison Supermarkets and Ocado Group surged after the two confirmed they were teaming up to launch Morrisons' first shopping website.

FLSmidth & Co retreated as Europe's biggest maker of cement-production lines said it signed fewer large orders.

Intertek Group tumbled after the consumer-goods testing company said that its operating-profit margin has narrowed from a year earlier.

Other asset classes mixedThe euro/dollar remained little changed at the 1.2882 dollar mark.

Front month Brent crude futures rose by $0.613 to $104.440 per barrel on the ICE.

RD

Recommended

Broker safety – your questions answered
Investment strategy

Broker safety – your questions answered

Cris Sholto Heaton answers more of your questions about the safety of stockbroker accounts
25 Mar 2020
How demographics affects stock valuations
Investment strategy

How demographics affects stock valuations

New research suggests that stock and bond valuations are driven by the age of the population – at least in the US.
24 Feb 2020
Do you own shares in Sirius Minerals? Here’s what you need to do now
Stocks and shares

Do you own shares in Sirius Minerals? Here’s what you need to do now

Mining giant Anglo American has proposed a cash takeover of Yorkshire-based minnow Sirius Minerals. Unhappy shareholders must decide whether to accept…
20 Feb 2020

Most Popular

Why we won’t see a house-price crash in 2021
House prices

Why we won’t see a house-price crash in 2021

Lockdown sent house prices berserk as cooped up home-workers fled for bigger properties in the country. And while they won’t rise quite as much this y…
18 Jan 2021
The world’s fund managers are getting very bullish – be careful out there
Stockmarkets

The world’s fund managers are getting very bullish – be careful out there

The latest survey of fund managers shows them to be extremely bullish on all the same things. And that, says John Stepek, means the market is in dange…
21 Jan 2021
Prepare for the end of the epic bubble in US stocks
US stockmarkets

Prepare for the end of the epic bubble in US stocks

US stocks are as expensive as they’ve ever been. How can you prepare your portfolio for a bubble bursting?
18 Jan 2021