Sep 23, 2020

European Markets at Close Report: European stocks close higher with key euro zone data in focus


Elliot Smith, Holly Ellyatt

European stocks closed higher Wednesday as investors reacted to key data releases from the euro zone.

.FTSEFTSE 100FTSE5914.8685.401.46507097400
.FCHICAC 40 IndexCAC4819.6746.830.9860333423

The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed 0.7% higher provisionally, with travel and leisure stocks bouncing 2.3% as most sectors and major bourses held in positive territory.

Euro zone business activity growth slowed in September, with IHS Markit’s preliminary euro zone composite purchasing manager’s index (PMI) reading coming in below expectations at 50.1, down from 51.9 in August. A reading above 50 represents expansion.

The services sector went into reverse in September, offsetting the strongest monthly manufacturing growth for two years, as governments across Europe reintroduced partial restrictions to curb a rise in coronavirus cases. 

Ahead of that data, Spain revised its second-quarter GDP (gross domestic product) contraction to 17.8% quarter-on-quarter, less severe than the initial estimate of 18.5%. Meanwhile the U.K.’s flash composite PMI for September came in at 55.7, below expectations of 56.3 and down from 59.1 in August.

Stocks in Asia-Pacific mostly rose Wednesday as investors reacted to recent comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell on Tuesday, with the S&P/ASX 200 in Australia jumping 2.42% to close at 5,923.90.u

Biggest movers

British technical products company Diploma saw its stock surge more than 24% by mid-afternoon trade, after raising £190 million ($241 million) in a share placing. 

Adidas shares climbed 5.4% and fellow German sportswear brand Puma added 4.6%, buoyed by a strong earnings report from U.S. rival Nike. French engineering group Alten jumped 10%.

At the bottom of the European blue-chip index, Danish biotech firm Genmab dropped 9.8%.

- staff contributed to this market report.

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