European stock markets traded mostly higher today, supported by the latest round of quarterly earnings and expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve will delay tapering its asset purchases. Investors remain focus on U.S. data on industrial production and pending home sales.
The FTSE 100 added 6.85 points, or 0.1%, to 6,728.19 at 9:00 a.m. in London. The UK benchmark index rose 1.5% last week as corporate earnings beat analyst estimates. The Stoxx Europe 600 index gained 0.1% to 320.40, recovering from a small loss on Friday. German DAX is also trading slightly above zero change levels.
Meanwhile investors remained focused on the U.S., looking for clues to when the Federal Reserve will start scaling back its bond purchases. A U.S. index of consumer sentiment fell to the lowest reading in almost a year on Friday, adding to hopes that the central bank will delay the tapering process until 2014.
“It seems with all the problems concerning the U.S. debt ceiling — replacing the head of the U.S. central bank, as well as the stark disagreements between political parties which could adversely affect growth rates — then perhaps there is a case for arguing that tapering would not be appropriate within the present context,” said Shavaz Dhalla, financial trader at Spreadex, in a note for MarketWatch.
In European corporate world, shares of TNT Express rose 3.5% after the Dutch parcel-delivery firm said it will take further steps to improve its business as market conditions continue to be challenging.
Shares of Assa Abloy AB increased by 3.1% after the Swedish lock-maker reported a 5% rise in third-quarter sales while shares of Gemalto NV lost 2.3% after Credit Suisse cut the digital-security firm to “neutral” from “outperform” and lowed revenue estimates.
Shire Plc led advancing shares, rising to a record. Aggreko Plc climbed 4% after saying third-quarter revenue and trading margins improved “slightly” from a year earlier. Admiral Group Plc added 1.4% after Numis Securities Ltd. recommended buying the motor insurer. G4S Plc gained 1% after rejecting an offer for its cash-handling unit from Charterhouse Capital Partners LLP.