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European shares rise on hopes of dovish signals from ECB

David Brett
Monday, 4 Nov 2013 | 4:05 AM ET

* FTSEurofirst 300 up 0.3 percent

* Auto gain after Peugeot says French car registrations rise

* Miners boosted by China PMI

* Airlines fall as Ryanair warns on profits

LONDON, Nov 4 (Reuters) - European shares rose on Monday, trading close to five-year highs on hopes of more equity-friendly stimulus measures from the European Central Bank as a mixed earnings season cranked up a gear.

The European Central Bank is expected to strike a more dovish tone at its policy meeting on Thursday following a sharp drop in euro zone inflation in October.

UBS and RBS are anticipating an interest rate cut but many others expect the ECB to hold fire on concrete action until at least December.

By 0724 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 was up 0.3 percent at 1,293.68, trading close to five-year highs.

Heading into the busiest week of the quarterly earnings season, 67 percent of companies have so far missed sales expectations and 53 percent have fallen short on profits, according to Starmine data.

Autos performed strongly after Peugeot said French car registrations rose in October, while airlines fell on a profit warning from Ryanair.

Stewart Richardson, chief investment officer at RMG Wealth, said equity markets were well bid at the moment and it might take more than a rate cut to maintain momentum.

"With ECB policies being ineffective in generating robust economic growth, we doubt that anything short of outright QE will have a longer-lasting positive impact on European equities, and we do not believe that QE is likely at the moment," he said.

Miners bounced 1 percent after China, the world's biggest consumer of raw materials, revealed its services sector expanded at the fastest pace in 13 months in October, offering indications that the economy has stabilised.

The sector is down nearly 13 percent in 2013 on concerns about earnings.

Volkswagen, which has increased its European market share in recent years at the expense of Peugeot, gained 1.7 percent.

Airlines were the main drag after Europe's biggest airline, Ryanair, said full-year profits will fall for the first time five years. Its shares fell 10.2 percent.

British engineer Weir Group shed 5 percent after it said full-year profit would miss expectations.

UBS said that if euro zone monetary policy stayed accommodative, the euro might move lower, which would in turn ease some of the pressure on European earnings.

Credit Suisse said it believed equity markets would be significantly higher in 6 and 12 months' time.

It cited cheap relative valuations, excess liquidity, cautious long-term positioning, rising inflation expectations and accelerating growth.

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