European Equity Benchmarks Close Higher; Mining, Health Care, Consumer Goods Stocks Lift Markets

The broad-based major European indices closed higher in Monday's trading session, as mining stocks, health care companies, and consumer goods firms bolstered the markets.

In economic news, nearly half (48.7%) of unemployed people in the European Union aged 16-64 were at risk of poverty after social transfers in 2016, according to Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. Over the past 10 years, the proportion of unemployed persons at risk of poverty has risen steadily, from 41.5% in 2006 to 48.7% in 2016.

Persons at risk of poverty are those living in a household with an equivalized disposable income below the risk-of-poverty threshold, which is set at 60% of the national median equivalised disposable income (after social transfers). The rate of unemployed people at risk of poverty was highest in Germany (70.8%), followed by Lithuania (60.5%), Latvia (55.8%), Bulgaria (54.9%), Estonia (54.8%), the Czech Republic (52.3%), Romania (51.4%) and Sweden (50.3%).

At the opposite end of the spectrum, fewer than 40% of unemployed people were at risk of poverty in Cyprus and Finland (both 37.3%), France (38.4%) and Denmark (38.6%).

In Germany, the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) reported that motor vehicles, trailers and semi-trailers continued to be Germany's most important export goods in 2017, which totaled EUR234.4 billion ($288.9 billion) for the year. This was followed by machinery (EUR183.6 billion) and chemicals and chemical products (EUR114.7 billion).

In neighboring Austria, the latest PMI data from Unicredit Bank Austria indicated further strong growth of the Austrian manufacturing sector in February, although at a slower pace than in recent months, according to IHS Markit. The headline PMI fell to a nine month low of 59.2 in February, down from 61.3 in January, but remained at a historically elevated level. Growth of output, new orders, exports and purchasing all moderated since January. Any figure greater than 50.0 indicates overall improvement of the sector.

In equities, mining stocks helped boost the FTSE higher, as Anglo Americam rose 3.1%, followed by BHP Billiton, which climbed 1.7%, and Fresnillo and Rio Tinto, each of which closed 1.6% higher. Food processing company Associated British Foods was up 3.1%, while airline operator International Consolidated Airlines Group, and aerospace company BAE Systems increased 2.7% and 2.2% respectively.

In Frankfurt, health care company Fresenius led the DAX higher, rising 2.5%, followed by automaker Volkswagen and pharmaceutical firm Merck, which climbed 1.8% and 1.1% respectively. Consumer goods company Beiersdorf and chemical comany BASF were up 1% and 0.9%, while automobile manufacturer BMW closed 0.8% higher.

In Paris, food processing company Danone led the CAC into positive territory, rising 2.3%, followed by hotel operator Accor, and chemical company Solvay, which climbed 1.4% each. Luxury goods companies Kering and LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton were up 1.2% and 1% respectively, while construction materials supplier Saint-Gobain, and cosmetics company L'Oreal increased 1.1% and 1%.

The FTSE gained 0.62%, the DAX rose 0.35%, and the CAC-40 increased 0.51%.

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

Copyright (C) 2016 All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.

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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