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European Stocks Rise as Ukraine Concern Eases; Renault Up

Foreign Ministers Meet Over Ukraine Crisis
From left to right, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov pose for a group photo while meeting to discuss the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine at Villa Borsig in Berlin, Germany. Photographer: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Aug. 18 (Bloomberg) -- European stocks advanced, after equities had their biggest weekly gain in more than a month, as Ukrainian and Russian officials met for talks.

United Internet AG added 3.8 percent after saying it bought a 10.7 percent stake in Rocket Internet AG. Renault SA advanced 2.5 percent, helping a gauge of automakers post the biggest gain among 19 industry groups in the Stoxx Europe 600 Index. Aker Solutions ASA dropped 1.6 percent.

The Stoxx 600 rallied 1.2 percent, the most in a week, to 333.6 at the close of trading in London, after advancing 1.5 percent last week. All of the gauge’s industry groups climbed today, while the volume of shares changing hands was 34 percent lower than the 30-day average, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

“Every time you have a de-escalation of geopolitical risk, it works favorably to the market,” Steen Jakobsen, chief investment officer at Saxo Bank A/S in Copenhagen, said in a phone interview. “The short-term direction of the stock market at the moment is driven almost entirely by whatever news is coming out of the Ukraine-Russia situation. I see this as a temporary relief.”

The Stoxx 600 pared its weekly advance on Aug. 15 after Ukraine said its troops partially destroyed a convoy that entered the country from Russia. The stocks gauge closed 5.7 percent below a six-year high reached June 10.

Ukraine Talks

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov met in Berlin in talks seeking to ease tension. German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who also attended, said after the discussion that there was some progress made. Russia’s foreign minister said the talks haven’t produced a resolution.

In Iraq, Kurdish forces took control of most of the country’s largest dam. The U.S. widened its air strikes and used bombers for the first time since the offensive began on Aug. 8 to help secure the dam near Mosul, Iraq’s largest northern city, that had been seized by the insurgents.

National benchmark indexes advanced in 16 of the 18 western-European markets today. France’s CAC 40 Index rose 1.4 percent, and the DAX Index jumped 1.7 percent. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index gained 0.8 percent. Portugal’s PSI 20 Index rallied 2.4 percent, the most in a month and a fourth day of gains.

United Internet climbed 3.8 percent to 32.36 euros. The online-access and domain provider bought the Rocket Internet stake for 435 million euros ($582 million). United Internet is paying 333 million euros in cash and will transfer its equity participation in the portfolio of Global Founders Capital funds to Rocket, representing 102 million euros, a statement showed.

Automakers Rally

A gauge of carmakers and auto-parts companies rallied 2 percent. Renault, Europe’s third-biggest automaker, advanced 2.5 percent to 58.99 euros. Finnish tiremaker Nokian Renkaat Oyj gained 3.1 percent to 24.27 euros, while Germany’s Continental AG rose 3.3 percent to 158.50 euros.

Commerzbank AG climbed 1.5 percent to 10.79 euros. Profit margins in Germany’s private-banking industry will probably rise, Boersen-Zeitung reported, citing an interview with Commerzbank wealth management board member Gustav Holtkemper.

Swedish Match AB added 1 percent to 230.70 kronor after Borsen reported that Scandinavian Tobacco Group Assens A/S is considering an initial public offering. Swedish Match owns 49 percent of STG. The newspaper cited chairman Joergen Tandrup.

Aker Solutions fell 1.6 percent to 92.25 kroner. The Norwegian oil-services company cut 225 jobs amid a slowdown, Stavanger Aftenbladet reported, citing an interview with Espen Krogh, the company’s regional director.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jonathan Morgan in Frankfurt at jmorgan157@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Cecile Vannucci at cvannucci1@bloomberg.net Trista Kelley

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