Europe Markets

European stocks close higher as investors shrug off Trump concerns; Wolseley up 5%


European stocks closed higher on Tuesday as global investors digested U.S. President Donald Trump's ability to deliver on campaign pledges after his first major setback.

The Stoxx 600 ended up 0.61 percent at the close of trade with media stocks among the best performing sectors. This followed news that French media group Lagardere is considering selling its stake in its Relay stores business. Basic resources also moved higher as the sector recovered from a two-week low after a slip in copper prices.

The dollar lifted off four-month lows on Tuesday which appeared to demonstrate investor concerns over key White House proposals had started to subside. The failure of Trump to get a health-care reform bill approved in the House led many to doubt he would be able to enact tax cuts and infrastructure investment projects in due course.

Elsewhere, Wolseley, the distributor of plumbing and heating products, moved towards the top of the benchmark after reporting a revenue of £8.4 billion ($10.6 billion) in the last six months. It also announced that Kevin Murphy would take on the role of CEO and it would rebrand its name to Ferguson. Its shares jumped 5 percent.

The Portuguese energy firm EDP climbed 4.1 percent after announcing an offer for its shares, according to Reuters. The Swiss airport retailer Dufry was also among the best-performing stocks, up by 3.5 percent, following reports that the Chinese group HNA is seeking to buy a stake.

In contrast, Ladbrokes Coral fell 1.7 percent on Tuesday. The bookmaker announced a 22 percent increase in its 2016 operating profit but registered an overall pre-tax loss of £204.3 million last year. The Italian pharmaceutical Recordati also dropped 0.9 percent, after a downgrade from Goldman Sachs.

In the U.K., the biggest food retailer Tesco announced Tuesday it will pay a fine of £129 million ($162 million) to settle a probe over a 2014 profit overstatement. Its shares closed flat on Tuesday. Meanwhile, U.K. housebuilder Redrow dropped out of the race to buy rival Bovis Homes, dragging down shares across the sector.

In the banking sector, Credit Suisse said Tuesday it will make a decision on capital raising plans "as soon as possible," Reuters reported. The bank has previously hinted that it will seek up to 4 billion Swiss francs ($4.06 billion) via an initial public offering of a minority stake in its Swiss division. It shares were 1 percent higher.

Meanwhile, U.S. equities rose on strong consumer confidence data but investors were watching out for any new developments regarding the White House's agenda.

Tuesday's calendar is slim. President Jean-Claude Juncker of the European Commission is expected to meet with London Mayor Sadiq Khan, one day before the U.K. begins the official process of leaving the European Union. In Scotland, lawmakers are set to call for a second Scottish independence referendum and a new one pound coin will enter in circulation.

Later in the session, the focus will be on U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, who's due to speak at the NCRC Annual Conference at 5.15 p.m. London time. The President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas Robert Kaplan said Monday that it would be "wise to move gradually and patiently" with increases in short-term interest rates.

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