European equity markets started the week on a positive note as the CAC, DAX and the London equity benchmark index gained between 0.26% and 0.34%, while the euro came under pressure against the US dollar and slid lower towards 1.38.
On the macroeconomic front, the Eurozone’s industrial production rose sharply by 1.7% in February, verifying signs of improvement in the European economies. In the US, robust economic data spread optimism across equity and commodity markets and drove the USD higher, with the USD index trading above the 79.7 area. The US retail sales surged by 1.1% in March, beating analysts’ expectations, while business inventories also rose by 0.4% in February.
In the meantime, the political conditions in Ukraine continue to remain fairly tentative, causing high volatility and nervous trading conditions in the markets. The oil market rebounded in today’s trading session with Brent futures trading above $108 per barrel. Tullow Oil and Royal Dutch Shell climbed by 3.87% and 0.98%.
In London, strong gains in the UK banks and mining stocks offset modest losses in telecommunications and healthcare companies. Randgold, Fresnillo, Rio Tinto, Glencore and Antofagasta surged between 2.02% and 3.64%. Furthermore, Standard Chartered and HSBC gained by 1.82% and 0.62%, as risk appetite increased.
Tomorrow, investor’ attention will switch to the release of the UK BRC retail sales as well as CPI and PPI inflation data, while in the US the main attention will turn to the NY Fed manufacturing figures, NAHB housing market and CPI core data, which could provide an outlook regarding the US economic prospects.
In the meantime, please note that trading volumes might remain thin ahead of the Easter break.