European Equity Benchmarks Close Higher; Mining, Auto, Bank Stocks Buoy Markets

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The broad-based major European indices closed higher in Friday trading as mining, automotive and bank stocks buoyed the markets.

In economic news, the euro area economic expansion slowed down in July, according to the IHS Markit Eurozone PMI Composite Output Index, which declined to 54.3 from 54.9 in June. The slowdown was attributed mainly to the service sector, where growth eased from June's four-month high. Manufacturing production rose at a slightly faster pace that was broadly similar to that signaled for services activity, according to IHS Markit.

"The final PMI numbers confirm the euro area economy started quarter three on a softer footing," said Rob Dobson, director at IHS Markit. "July saw rates of expansion in both output and new orders cede the momentum recaptured in the prior survey month, returning to a picture of sliding growth rates seen through much of the year-to-date."

Meanwhile, Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, reported that the seasonally adjusted volume of retail trade increased 0.3% in the euro area (EA19) and remained stable in the EU28 in June compared with May. Compared with June 2017, the calendar adjusted retail sales index increased 1.2% in the euro area, and 1.9% in the EU28.

The highest monthly increases in the total retail trade volume were observed in Germany (+1.2%), Spain, and Poland (both +0.7%), while the largest decreases were reported in Sweden, Finland (both -2.1%), and Estonia (-1.9%). The highest yearly increases in the total retail trade volume were registered in Romania (+7.8%), Lithuania (+7.2%), Hungary (+6.1%) and Bulgaria (+6.0%), while the largest decreases were seen in Malta (-1.5%), Austria (-1.4%) and Estonia (-1.2%).

In equities, paper company Mondi led the FTSE sharply higher in London, surging 7.9%, followed by aerospace and automobile company Rolls Royce, and Royal Bank of Scotland, which climbed 3.4% and 3.1% respectively. Real estate investment trust company Sergo, and water services company United Utilities were up 2.7% and 2.6% respectively. Mining stocks also boosted the market as Anglo American rose 2.3%, while Fresnillo, Evraz, and Rio Tinto each closed 2.2% higher.

In Frankfurt, footwear and apparel retailer Adidas, and real estate company Vonovia led the DAX into positive territory rising 2.5% and 2.1% respectively, followed by chemical and consumer goods company Henkel, and health care company Fresenius, each of which closed 2% higher. Automakers also fortified the market as BMW, and Volkswagen climbed 1.4% each, while Daimler was up 1.3%.

In Paris, bank Credit Agricole led the CAC higher, climbing 2.3%, followed by retailer Carrefour, and steel and mining company ArcelorMittal, which were up 2% and 1.8% respectively. Schneider Electric, and media, telecommunications, and construction conglomerate Bouygues rose 1.5% and 1.4%, while semiconductor company STMicroelectronics increased 1.3%.

The FTSE climbed 1.10%, the DAX rose 0.55%, and the CAC-40 gained 0.33%.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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