European markets closed higher on Thursday amid hopes of additional fiscal stimulus in the U.S. following the Electoral College certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.
The Democrats’ win in Georgia’s Senate runoff elections now gives Democrats control of the House, Senate and the White House.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump said in a statement that there would be an “orderly transition” of power to Biden even as he continued his fraudulent claims of widespread voter fraud that helped spark the riot at the Capitol.
Investors were also betting on hopes the Bank of England will reduce interest rates. Markets were also looking ahead to the rollout of Moderna vaccine in the European Union nations.
Reports showing continued surge in coronavirus cases in several countries across the continent, and tighter lockdown measures in many places weighed on sentiment and limited markets’ gains.
The pan European Stoxx 600 gained 0.51%. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 ended 0.22% up, Germany’s DAX advanced 0.55% and France’s CAC 40 climbed 0.7%, while Switzerland’s SMI ended higher by 0.29%.
Among other markets in Europe, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden and Turkey ended with sharp to moderate gains.
Iceland and Netherlands closed weak.
In the UK market, Sainsbury shares gained nearly 7% after the company said its third quarter like-for-like sales increased by 8.6% and total retail sales rose 6/8%.
BT Group, CRH, Mondi, Ferguson, Rio Tinto and Smith DS ended higher by 3 to 4.2%.
Imperial Brands, Barratt Developments, Anglo American, Hargreavs Lansdown and BP also ended sharply higher.
On the other hand, British Land, Auto Trader Group, Right Move, Pearson, Experian and M&G declined sharply.
In the German market, HeidelbergCement, Thyssenkrupp, Deutsche Post, Daimler, Covestro, MTU Aero Engines, Bayer and Deutsche Bank gained 2 to 4%. Infineon Technologies, Deutsche Telekom, BASF and Siemens also posted strong gains.
Wirecard shares plunged more than 30%. Volkswagen, SAP, Fresenius Medical Care and Munich RE shed 1 to 2%.
In France, Saint Gobain climbed more than 6%. Renault, Michelin, ArcelorMittal, Legrand, Teleperformance, Orange, BNP Paribas, Peugeot and Technip gained 2 to 5%.
In economic releases, data from Destatis showed German factory orders rose 2.3% month-on-month in November, while economists had forecast a 1.2% fall. The growth for October was revised to 3.3% from 2.9%.
On a year-on-year basis, factory orders grew 6.3% in November after a 2.3% increase in the previous month.
Eurozone’s headline inflation and core price growth was unchanged in December, preliminary data from Eurostat showed. The harmonized consumer price index, or HICP, dropped 0.3% year-on-year, same as in November. Economists had forecast a 0.2% fall.
The core CPI, which excludes prices of food, energy and alcohol & tobacco, rose 0.2% year-on-year, same as in November. That was in line with economists’ expectations.
Euro area retail sales decreased 2.9% year-on-year in November, while economists had forecast 0.8% growth. October’s growth was revised to 4.2% from 4.3%.
Eurozone economic sentiment rose slightly more than expected at the end of the year 2020, preliminary data from the European Commission showed. The economic sentiment index rose to 90.4 from 87.7 in November. Economists had forecast a score of 90.
Preliminary data from the Federal Statistical Office showed Swiss retail sales rose by 1.7% in November from a year ago. On a monthly basis, seasonally adjusted retail sales fell 2% in November.
In nominal terms, retail sales grew 1% annually in November and decreased 2.4% from a month ago.
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