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European Stocks Rally as Car-Makers Advance, Pound Weakens Ahead of British Election

European equity benchmarks were rallying on Thursday morning after a weakening of Britain's currency, pound sterling, provided a boost to the nation's benchmark index, the FTSE 100, which is weighted by multinational companies which derive large proportions of their revenue from overseas operations in foreign currencies, and as oil prices jumped following a projected fall in US inventories of the comodity.

Pound sterling was trading 0.09% lower against the dollar at the time of writing at $1.28746 after earlier falling by 0.28% to $1.28497. A poll published by Britain's Telegraph newspaper on Thursday indicated that the governing Conservative Party's lead over its rival, the Labor Party, is narrowing in the run-up to the general election on June 8. Some 44.1% of respondents in a poll conducted by YouGov indicated on May 30 that they would vote for the Conservative Party, down from 45.2% in YouGov's poll on May 22 and 46.4% in a poll on April 21, accoridng to the newspaper. By contrast, the proportion of respondents indicating they would vote for the Labor party on May 30, was 34.9%, up from 33.8% on May 22 and 25.6% on April 21. The election result, particularly in the number of seats that the party which wins secures, stands to have an impact on the government's ability to negotiate its complicated exit from the European Union (EU) following a nationwide referendum on continued EU membership last June.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures, the main US oil benchmark, for delivery in July were 1.3% higher at $48.95 per barrel at the time of writing while Brent crude, the international gauge, was 1.1% higher at $51.32 per barrel. The American Petroleum Institute projected on Wednesday evening that US inventories of crude oil fell by 8.7 million barrels last week, which if confirmed by the government's official data - due out later in the day- would represent one of the biggest draw downs so far in 2017.

And, in economic news, turnover in Germany's wholesale trade was 4.5% larger in real terms in the first quarter of the year than in the corresponding quarter of the prior year, data published by the federal statistics agency Destatis showed.

In equities, 3i Group, an investment company, was 2.7% higher and leading the gainers on London's FTSE 100 Index, followed by Micro Focus International, a software and information technology business, up by 2.3% and DCC, a sales, marketing and business support services company, up by 1.8%. Rolls Royce Holding, an engineering company, was up by 1.8% and Land Securities, a real estate investment trust, was 1.5% higher.

On Frankfurt's DAX, airline operator Lufthansa was 1.8% higher, RWE, a supplier of electricity and natural gas, was up by 1.4% and Linde, a gas and engineering company, was 1.1% higher. ProSiebenSat1 Media, a media company, was up by 1.0% and BMW, a car-maker, was 0.6% higher. And, on Paris' CAC-40, Airbus, a manufacturer of aircraft parts, was 1.7% higher, Vivendi, a media business, was up by 1.5% and Compagnie de Saint Gobain, a producer of construction, materials and packaging, was 1.3% higher. Renault, a manufacturer of automobiles, was also up by 1.3% and Michelin (Compagnie Generale dEtablissements Michelin SCPA), a manufacturer of tires, was up by 0.9%.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 Index was 0.29% higher, London's FTSE 100 Index was up by 0.32%, Frankfurt's DAX was 0.35% higher and Paris' CAC-40 was 0.41% higher at the time of writing.

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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