European Stocks Rise to Two-Week High on Banks, Oil Companies

Morgan Stanley's Slimmon Sees a Fiscal Boom for Earnings

European stocks rose for a third session in a broad rally, with the banking sector bouncing back after Societe Generale SA’s earnings beat estimates and oil stocks advancing.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index climbed 0.8 percent to end the session at the highest since Jan. 26 . A gauge for the banking sector extended its gains to 1.3 percent after U.S. President Donald Trump promised industry executives he’d roll back regulations and announce a “phenomenal” tax plan. The index is still down 3.1 percent from its 2017 peak close on Jan. 26, dragged lower by simmering worries over Europe’s political risks.

  • Oil & gas companies advanced for the first time in four days as crude prices edged higher and after Total SA’s quarterly profit beat estimates.
  • Shares in Societe Generale gained 2.3 percent after the French bank posted fourth-quarter profit that exceeded estimates, helped by a surprise jump in earnings from French consumer banking.
  • Even as European earnings have been relatively strong this season, equity markets across Europe are still not far from where they started the year, Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets, wrote in a note. “Investors try to look through the fog of politics in France, Germany, the Netherlands, as well as the banking issues in Italy and the possibility of new elections there, as well as the perennial problem child of Greece.”
  • Investors have been hedging against the perils emanating from Europe’s elections and may be ignoring other risks that have the potential to roil the current equity-market calm, according to firms including OFI Asset Management, Union Bancaire Privee and NN Investment Partners.

— With assistance by Elena Popina

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