European stock markets rallied yesterday while the euro fell against the dollar as a trend sparked by last week’s surprise EU deal was underpinned by anticipation of an ECB rate cut, analysts said.
Focus was also on the banks, as Barclays chairman Marcus Agius paid the price of “devastating” damage to the lender, resigning over the rigging of key global interest rates which has sullied London’s image as a financial centre.
London’s benchmark FTSE 100 index jumped by 1.25% to 5,640.64 points, with the increase accelerating towards the end of the session, which was also the first trading day of the third quarter.
The interest rates which Spain and Italy must pay to borrow, critical factors in the eurozone debt crisis, edged higher following a sharp drop on Friday.
Frankfurt’s Dax 30 advanced 1.24% to 6,496.08 points and in Paris the CAC 40 climbed 1.36% to 3,240.20. Madrid’s Ibex 35 gained a slight 0.31% to 7,124 points.
In foreign exchange deals, the euro retreated to $1.2579 from $1.2654 late on Friday in New York.
Poor eurozone data suggested to many investors that the European Central Bank would cut its main interest rate on Thursday from the current record low of 1%.
Unemployment rose to a euro area high of 11.1% while manufacturing purchasing managers indices across Europe continued to show activity contracting, though some PMIs exceeded expectations.
On Friday, European leaders agreed to use emergency funds to support ailing banks directly and to ease pressure on governments’ debt burdens through direct bond purchases, if necessary.
They also agreed to cobble together $150bn to boost growth.
As European markets closed, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was off by 0.46% at 12,821.44 points in New York however.
The S&P 500-stock index slipped by 0.27% to 1,358.44, while the tech-rich Nasdaq was off by 0.07% at 2,933.13.
“The European summit concluded without agreement on the long-term details (fiscal union etc), but did offer relief for Spain and Italy with direct bank funding” from the future European Stability Mechanism (ESM), the National Australia Bank noted.
It added the agreement was “positive, but there are questions about how long this takes to establish,” since a eurozone banking supervisory body to be based at the European Central Bank must be established first.
Official data published Monday showed meanwhile that eurozone unemployment climbed to a record high of 11.1% in May, with Spain the hardest hit at 24.6%.
More than 17.5mn people were jobless in the 17-nation single currency area in May, according to Eurostat data agency.
Also weighing on markets were two closely-watched surveys that showed weak manufacturing activity in China, renewing concerns about a slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy, traders said.
Official data released on Sunday showed manufacturing activity fell to a seven-month low in June.
The official purchasing managers’ index (PMI) slipped to 50.2 last month from 50.4 in May, industry group the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing said.
In London meanwhile, shares in Barclays jumped 3.41% to 168.40 pence.
The beleaguered bank yesterday announced the departure of Agius, and promised an independent audit after British and US authorities fined Barclays last week amid international probes into several lenders over alleged rigging of inter-bank rates.
Prime Minister David Cameron announced a full parliamentary inquiry into the affair while the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) said it was considering whether it was “both appropriate and possible to bring criminal prosecutions.”
In Paris, the price of shares in French bank Credit Agricole soared on rumours that it might sell its Greek subsidiary Emporiki, while the National Bank of Greece said it had held talks with the French bank.
The stock rose 6.91% to reach 3.71 euros, posting the biggest rise on the CAC 40.
from gulf times.