European shares buoyed by banks, positive earnings

European shares were higher around midday on Thursday, with the banking sector turning positive, shrugging off disappointing results at Societe Generale (SOGN.PA). At 1137 GMT, the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 .FTEU3 index was up 0.4 percent at 1,019.02 points, on course for its eighth gain in nine sessions. “There’s been some good bottom-up newsflow. If you look at the earnings, at the margin, they’ve been pretty good,” said Georgina Taylor, equity strategist at Legal & General Investment Management. “People have put the macro headlines to one side. There’s a bit of macro fatigue in the market. Investors took risk rapidly off the table early in the year, so there’s room for a bit of a short-term bounce,” she said. The index is down 2.6 percent in 2010, partly on concern about Greece’s deficit, but up more than 57 percent from its lifetime low of March 9. [Read the full article]

{loadposition in-article}

GENEVA, Feb 18 (Reuters) – The coming year’s seasonal flu vaccine in the northern hemisphere should include protection against three strains of flu, including the pandemic H1N1 virus, the World Health Organisation recommended on Thursday. The composition of the vaccine, announced at the end of a closed-door four-day meeting of influenza experts that is closely followed by the world’s vaccine makers, means governments that have stockpiled doses of H1N1 swine flu vaccine may now use them for part of the seasonal flu vaccine mix. Some countries, including Germany, France and the United States, cut back their orders of the H1N1 swine flu jab after people were slow to take them up. The fact that people needed only one dose, and not two as originally thought, also contributed to oversupply. [Read the full article]

LONDON, Feb 18 (Reuters) – Britain’s leading shares were higher at midday on Thursday, extending gains for a fourth day as early profit-taking attracted bargain hunters back into the market, with banks and commodities leading the risers. By 1158 GMT, the FTSE 100 index .FTSE was up 26.18 points, or 0.5 percent, at 5,302.82 after trading as high as 5,316.15, its highest level in four weeks. The index closed 0.6 percent higher on Wednesday. “The recent run of straight gains indicates that investors are hunting for buying opportunities,” said Joshua Raymond, market strategist at City Index. “The higher we go the more investors will be enticed into cashing in their profits and this will be when investors will need to make a decision over whether to consolidate or build on positions,” Raymond said. Banks were again among the top risers. [Read the full article]

SINGAPORE/WASHINGTON, Feb 18 (Reuters) – The International Monetary Fund said it will soon begin phased sales of 191.3 tonnes of gold to the open market, a move that has called into question demand for bullion from official sector buyers. Gold prices fell some 1 percent after Wednesday’s news, with some analysts saying the open market element signalled that demand from central banks — a key fundamental driver — was not as robust as first thought. However, prices later stabilised above $1,100 per ounce <GOL/>. Commodity-related currencies came under pressure — the Australian dollar AUD=D4 was down 0.3 percent at $0.8970 and the New Zealand dollar NZD=D4 down 0.4 percent at $0.7003. The Fund said the sales, which are part of a programme launched last year to boost IMF resources for lending, “will be conducted in a phased manner over time” to avoid disruptions to the gold market. [Read the full article]

You may also like...