Major European stock markets wobbled yesterday but still closed higher for the fourth consecutive day on growing confidence in Europe as a key summit got underway in Brussels and investors anticipated an improvement in Spain’s financial situation.
London’s benchmark FTSE 100 index of top companies rose by a slight 0.10% to 5,917.05 points, in part on news that British retail sales rose in September.
Frankfurt’s DAX 30 was up 0.58% at 7,437.23 points, while the Paris CAC 40 reversed its intraday losses to close with a gain of 0.22% at 3,535.18 points and Madrid’s IBEX 35 lost 0.34% to 8,100.30 points.
In New York, US stocks were mixed in midday trade after a high number for weekly unemployment claims erased hopes from the previous week’s sharp fall that the job market was rebounding.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average of 30 blue chip stocks edged up by 0.08%.
The broad-based S&P 500 was up by an even slighter 0.05%, while the tech-rich Nasdaq lost 0.19%.
In Brussels, EU leaders gathered for a summit on strengthening the bloc’s foundations as Spain appeared set finally to ask for financial aid, which would ease a keenly-watched eurozone pressure point.
With Spain reportedly edging closer to asking for what diplomats describe as a precautionary credit line, the 27 European Union states met for talks free from the worst fears of previous debt crisis summits.
The European single currency eased to $1.3101 in foreign exchange trading, from $1.3120 late in New York on Wednesday.
Gold prices declined to $1,743an ounce on the London Bullion Market from $1,749an ounce.
In an upbeat development before the EU summit, Spanish borrowing costs eased markedly as bond markets banked on Madrid grabbing a eurozone financial lifeline within weeks.