Europe Stocks End Week Near Highest Since 2015 After China Data

Stoxx 600 Ends Week on Best Run Since December 9

European stocks edged higher on Friday to finish the week close to a one-year high, as a raft of positive corporate results and better-than-expected export data from China boosted shares in raw-materials companies.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose 0.2 percent to close at 367.39, less than one point from its highest close since December 2015. The basic-resources sector index advanced 3.6 percent, widening its gain this year to 11 percent, the most among 19 industry groups.

  • The Stoxx banking index’s 0.8 drop brought its decline to 3.9 percent since a 2017 peak close on Jan. 26. Among the decliners were Societe Generale SA, down 3 percent, and Commerzbank AG, down 2.4 percent.
  • A poll on Friday signaled support for French far-right candidate Marine Le Pen for the first round of France’s presidential election has increased one point to 26 percent.
  • Raw-materials companies got a boost from data that showed Chinese exports rose 7.9 percent in dollar terms in January, the fastest pace in almost two years, while ArcelorMittal surged 9.3 percent after reporting a 20 percent profit increase, helped by a rally in steel and iron prices.
  • Following a sharp rally in global stocks, history shows that in 75 percent of such cases the market continues to move higher over the following 12 months, Citi equity strategists including Robert Buckland wrote in a note.
  • Strategists at Bernstein are more cautious, writing in a note that they are worried that market sentiment has reached complacent levels, particularly in the face of political uncertainty, and suggest investors tactically hedge global equity positions.
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