European equity markets rebounded in today’s trading session as the CAC and DAX indices climbed higher by 0.40% and 0.42%, respectively, while the London benchmark ended fairly flat at 6680. Robust European and US economic data improved market sentiment and increased risk appetite.
On the macroeconomic front, US ISM non-manufacturing composite index rose to 58.7 in July compared to 56.0 in June, showing its fastest pace since December 2005. In addition, factory orders jumped by 1.1% in June, beating analysts’ expectations of a more modest 0.6% rise. Markit Services PMI was reported at 60.8 in July, just below expectations of 61.0.
In Eurozone, retail sales increased by 0.4% in June, while Germany’s Markit Services PMI rose to 56.7 in July. However, Markit Eurozone Composite index was reported slightly lower at 53.8 in July compared to 54.0 in June and the Markit Services PMI came at 54.2 in July missing estimates of 54.4.
In London, insurance stocks posted fresh gains, led higher by Standard Life (+1.62%) which reported its operating profit before tax at £339 mln in the first half of 2014 compared to £304 mln previously. Standard Life proposed its interim dividend to 5.6p per share, up 7.3% y/y. Admiral, Old Mutual and Friends Life tracked the uptrend and climbed higher between 0.57% and 0.84%.