European equity markets fluctuated strongly in today’s trading session and ended slightly higher. However, the London benchmark index has managed to extend gains above 6700 and reached a six-week high, mainly supported by a rally in the UK pharmaceutical stocks led by AstraZeneca.
On the macroeconomic front, the US economic data was fairly mixed, failing to provide a clear direction. The weekly jobless claims increased by 329,000 last week above analysts’ expectations of a 310,000 rise. However, durable goods rose by 2.6% in March compared to 2.0% in February, beating analysts’ estimates.
The German Ifo survey showed improving current market conditions in the German economy, while expectations reached 107.3 in April compared to 105.67 in March. However, the DAX index traded range-bound today, around 9550 points.
The euro has climbed further against the US dollar, trading above 1.383, verifying signs of improvement in the European economies. Sterling has continued its strong rally against the USD, trading around 1.68.
In Ukraine, the political conditions continue to remain highly uncertain. We are still waiting for an agreement between Russia and the West over the Ukrainian issue. However, it seems that the crisis has been partially priced into the markets, as investors have switched their main interest to the corporate earnings results and macroeconomic indicators.
Tomorrow sees the release of the UK retail sales as well as the results from the University of Michigan/ Reuters survey.