European stocks rebound before rate calls

European stocks rebound before rate calls

European stock markets have rebounded slightly, while the euro has fallen further, before regional monetary policy decisions and after indebted eurozone member Greece approved new austerity measures.

Gains were capped amid concern that the US economy was facing another huge economic crisis as President Barack Obama's re-election raised the spectre of another bitter stand-off in Washington.

London's FTSE 100 index of top companies on Thursday rose 0.23 per cent to 5,805.43 points in late morning deals, Frankfurt's DAX 30 added 0.51 per cent to 7,270.01 points and in Paris the CAC 40 gained 0.41 per cent to 3,423.61.

"European eyes will watch interest-rate decisions at lunchtime from the Bank of England and the ECB," said from IG trader Will Hedden.

"We aren't expecting any changes, but will be closely watching the following press conference ... for more of (ECB President) Mario Draghi's wisdom, after he pointed the spotlight on Germany yesterday as the crisis starts to hit data releases from the backbone of the EU."

In foreign exchange activity, the euro fell to $US1.2745 from $US1.2767 late in New York on Wednesday.


Gold prices dipped to $US1,715 an ounce from $US1,715.25 on Wednesday, when Greek MPs approved huge cutbacks creditors had demanded to unlock aid needed to save the country from bankruptcy.

The bill for budgets cuts amounting to 18.5 billion-euro ($A22.86 billion) won a narrow majority even as thousands of anti-austerity protesters massed around parliament in Athens.

The tough measures to be implemented by 2016, include raising the retirement age to 67, slashing benefits and cutting the minimum wage.

The package is necessary for Greece to unlock a 31.5-billion-euro tranche of aid from its troika of international creditors - the European Union, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank.

"Despite violent protests marking the austerity vote in Greece, its approval was welcomed by markets," said Gekko Global Markets trader Anita Paluch.

"Shares performance was also strongly supported by robust earnings reports, with (German engineering giant) Siemens lifting the DAX after beating market expectations and announcing plans to raise profit margins.

"As the economic landscape remains fragile, the focus shifts to Spain, which is yet to decide if it is going to ask for an official bailout that would allow the ECB start to buy Spanish debt."

On the corporate front shares in Siemens jumped 3.79 per cent to 81.84 euros, while Commerzbank slid 3.58 per cent to 1.45 euros after Germany's second-biggest bank's return to profit in the third quarter fell short of analyst expectations.

In Paris trading, European aerospace group EADS shed 4.06 per cent to 26.12 euros after the owner of planemaker Airbus reported flat profits for the third quarter.

Britain's second-biggest insurer Aviva climbed 0.26 per cent to 329.37 pence as the company announced a drop in sales and confirmed it was in talks to sell its US business.

All eyes were firmly fixed on Washington after Obama's sweeping win over Republican challenger Mitt Romney in the United States on Tuesday, despite a dragging economy and the stifling unemployment that haunted his first term.

Investors around the world were concerned that a deeply divided congress would not be able to reach an agreement to avoid a so-called fiscal cliff at the end of the year that many say would send the United States back into recession.

The fiscal cliff refers to a combination of deep spending cuts and huge tax hikes due to take effect on January 1.

The package is a major threat to the economy after a protracted but possibly reckless compromise was agreed last year between Democrats and Republicans in order to raise the country's borrowing cap.

If it kicks in, the United States' slow recovery from the financial crisis could be reversed and the economy tip back into recession, which would in turn deal a major blow to the global economy.


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