Europe Stocks Close at One-Year High; Carmakers Gain on Peugeot

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Peugeot Maker Exploring Deal for GM's European Division

European stocks edged higher, completing the longest streak of increases since October, as gains in automakers offset a drop in construction and materials stocks.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index closed up less than 0.1 percent. Carmakers climbed 1.1 percent, with Peugeot SA among the biggest advancers after the firm’s owner was said to be exploring an acquisition of General Motors Co.’s European business. The FTSE 250 Index of U.K. midcaps rose 0.2 percent to its sixth consecutive record close.

  • Credit Suisse Group AG rose 2.3 percent after the lender said it took a charge to settle a U.S. investigation into the role of its mortgage securities business in the 2008 financial crisis. Chief Executive Officer Tidjane Thiam called this a “game-changer” that leaves the bank in a “more comfortable position to look today at our capital planning.”
  • Peugeot jumped 4.3 percent, the most in six months, helping lead a surge in auto manufacturers. The Stoxx 600 was down for most of the day, at one point falling 0.3 percent, as economic data dampened investor optimism to continue the rally.
  • German and Italian growth in the fourth quarter fell short of forecasts, casting doubt on the strength of two of the euro area’s biggest economies, and Greece’s unexpectedly contracted.
  • Treasuries fell, U.S. stocks fluctuated near records and the dollar rose after Janet Yellen reiterated her view that further tightening is warranted if the economy maintains its growth trajectory.
  • Investors are monitoring the narrative coming out of the White House, as signs of turmoil in the U.S. administration emerge. President Donald Trump’s national security adviser resigned amid questions over his contacts with Russia.

— With assistance by Elena Popina

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