The broad-based major European indices closed mixed in Monday trading as mining and bank stocks moved higher.
In economic news, the job vacancy rate in the euro area (EA19) was 2.3% in Q4 of 2018, up from 2.1% in the previous quarter, and from 2.0% in Q4 of 2017, according to Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. In the EU28, the job vacancy rate was also 2.3% in Q4 of 2018, up from 2.2% in Q3 2018, and from 2.0% in Q4 of 2017.
The highest job vacancy rates in Q4 of 2018 were recorded in Czechia (6.0%), Belgium and Germany (both 3.4%) and Austria (3.1%), while the lowest rates were observed in Greece (0.4%), Bulgaria, Ireland, Spain and Portugal (all 0.9%). Compared with the same quarter of the previous year, the job vacancy rate rose in 20 member states, remained unchanged in Belgium, Cyprus, Finland and Sweden, and fell in Estonia, Ireland, Croatia. The largest increases were registered in Czechia, Austria, Malta, and Germany.
Eurostat also reported that the first estimate for euro area (EA19) exports of goods to the rest of the world in January was EUR183.4 billion ($208.1 billion), an increase of 2.5% compared with January 2018 (EUR179.0 billion). Imports from the rest of the world stood at EUR181.8 billion, a rise of 3.4% compared with January 2018 (EUR175.9 billion). As a result, the euro area recorded a EUR1.5 billion surplus in trade in goods with the rest of the world in January, compared with +EUR3.1 billion in January 2018. Intra-euro area trade rose to EUR164.6 billion in January 2019, up 2.4% compared with January 2018.
In 2018, euro area exports of goods to the rest of the world rose to EUR2.28 trillion (an increase of 3.7% compared with 2017), and imports rose to EUR2.08 trillion (an increase of 6.6% with respect to the previous year). As a result the euro area recorded a surplus of EUR193.4 billion in 2018, compared with EUR240.8 billion in 2017. Intra-euro area trade rose to EUR1.94 trillion in 2018, up 5.3% compared with 2017.
Meanwhile, the first estimate for extra-EU28 exports of goods in January 2019 was EUR153.6 billion, up 2.1% compared with January 2018 (EUR150.4 billion). Imports from the rest of the world was EUR178.5 billion, up 3.9% compared with January 2018 (EUR171.8 billion). As a result, the EU28 recorded a EUR24.9 billion deficit in trade in goods with the rest of the world in January, compared with EUR21.4 billion deficit in January 2018. Intra-EU28 trade rose to EUR297.9 billion in January 2019, up 2.3% compared with January 2018.
In 2018, extra-EU28 exports of goods rose to EUR1.956 trillion, up 4.1% from the previous year, and imports rose to EUR1.98 trillion, up 6.6% compared with 2017. As a result, the EU28 recorded a deficit of EUR24.6 billion, compared with a surplus of EUR22.1 billion in 2017. Intra-EU28 trade rose to EUR3 518.3 billion in 2018, up 4.9% from 2017.
And in the UK, the seasonally adjusted IHS Markit Household Finance Index (HFI), which measures households' overall perceptions of financial wellbeing, fell to 43.3 in March, down from 43.4 in February, and to its lowest for 13 months. The headline index has been on a downward trend after reaching a two-and-a-half year high last August. The latest survey indicated that households' appetite for major purchases, such as cars and vacation bookings, declined at the fastest pace since September 2017. And the latest fall was one of the steepest seen over the past five years.
Meanwhile, resilient labor market conditions have supported households' expectations for their finances over the next 12 months as data indicated the lowest degree of pessimism about the outlook for financial wellbeing since November 2018.
"March data indicate a degree of resilience for UK household sentiment in response to turbulent domestic political events," said Tim Moore, associate director at IHS Markit. "Concerns about job security and the outlook for financial wellbeing moderated slightly since February, although remain more widespread than in 2018.
Moore added that "a sharp drop in UK households' appetite for major purchases was the main signal that Brexit uncertainty had some impact on consumer spending."
In equities, mining stocks helped buoy the FTSE in London as BHP Group, Rio Tinto, and Anglo American climbed 2.9%, 2.8%, and 2.1% respectively, while Evraz and Glencore rose 1.9% and 1.8%. Supermarket operator Sainsbury led all gainers, rising 5%, followed by energy services firm John Wood Group, and assurance, inspection, product testing and certification company Intertek Group, which increased 3.7% and 3.1%.
In Frankfurt, adhesives manufacturer Covestro, and semiconductor company Infineon led the DAX lower in Frankfurt, falling 3.4% and 2.6% respectively, followed by footwear and apparel company Adidas, and airline operator Lufthansa, which dropped 2.4% and 1.9%. Health care company Fresenius, and auto maker Daimler lost 1.7% and 1.1%, while tire maker Continental, and chemicals company BASF each closed 0.8% lower.
And in Paris, banks helped boost the CAC led by Credit Agricole, Societe Generale, and BNP Paribas, which climbed 2.6%, 2.5% and 1.8% respectively. Mining company ArclelorMittal, and oil and gas company Total gained 2.2% and 1.1%, while oilfield services firm TechnipFMC, and auto maker Renault each closed 1% higher. Aerospace and defense firm Safran, and telecommunications operator Orange were up 0.9% and 0.8%, while construction company Vinci, and auto maker Peugeot increased 0.6% and 0.5%.
The FTSE rose 0.98%, the DAX fell 0.25%, and the CAC-40 gained 0.14%.