European stocks moved higher on Wednesday, with banks and automobile makers rising, and U.K. stocks higher ahead of the spring budget message. U.S. equity futures also indicated a stronger start for Wall Street.
The Stoxx Europe 600
rose 0.7% to 415.99, poised for a third straight positive session, after closing modestly higher on Tuesday. Regional gains were led by the FTSE 100 index
which climbed 1.3% ahead of the U.K. budget announcement.
U.S. stock futures
indicated a rebound ahead for Wall Street, after technology stocks led the way south for markets on Tuesday. Asian markets also closed higher, after getting spooked by a top China banking regulator warning of risks from the country’s property market and bubbles in developed equities.
In Europe, investors will be watching for a lockdown easing strategy to come from German Chancellor Angela Merkel, as pressure builds to reopen the region’s biggest economy. Merkel is expected to agree to gradually relax measures, according to a draft plan viewed by Reuters.
Auto makers were among Europe’s biggest gainers. Renault
shares gained 4%, after the French auto group was upgraded to buy from neutral at UBS. Shares of Volkswagen
were also up 4% each.
And newly combined auto maker Stellantis
— a product of the merger of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Peugeot — said it expects an adjusted operating income margin of between 5.5% and 7.5% for 2021. Shares rose over 2%.
The home building and hospitality sectors were leading gains in London, on hopes for more help from Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak when he delivers his budget address around midday in London. Sky News reported that he is expected to announce an extension of the furlough plan, which will pay 80% of workers’ wages until the end of September.
Persimmon said pretax profit and revenue fell in 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but that recovery in the second half has continued into 2021.
Shares of Avast
fell over 2%, even after the cybersecurity company reported higher…