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Europe Session Key Developments

  • French Manufacturing Data Beats Expectations for August
  • Euro-Zone Consumer Confidence Unexpectedly Rises
  • Euro Currency Declines Against Greenback for Fourth Day

European stocks rallied for the first time in four days as French manufacturing data beat expectations and Euro-Zone consumer confidence rose to its highest level since January 2008. The bullish data boosted stocks, pushing the Stoxx Europe 600 Index higher by 0.6 percent to 253.76. The main driver behind today’s improved sentiment was the economic docket, which showed that French PMI manufacturing increased in August from 53.9 to 54.7, soundly beating expectations for a decline to 53.4. Furthering the bulls’ case was the Euro-Zone consumer confidence report, which showed that confidence unexpectedly improved in August from -14 to -12, its highest reading in over 30 months. Despite this positive report, however, consumer spending may remain dampened as governments take austerity measures to cut deficits and unemployment remains high. Therefore, significant downside risk remains to European investors.On the commodities front, NYMEX WTI crude oil fell over 1.1 percent to $72.97 as investors continue to fear lacking demand and ample supply within the market. Precious metals also declined, with COMEX gold dipping 0.1 percent lower to $1227.40 and silver falling 0.1 percent to $18.025. Despite small losses over the past two days, gold remains a strong performer, having increased by over 6 percent since late July. As for currencies, the Euro fell against the U.S. dollar for a fourth consecutive day, dropping 0.3 percent to $1.2675.

FTSE 100 / 5234.84 / +39.56 / +0.76%

Equity trading in London led to the FTSE’s first gain in four days, after Old Mutual said it may sell a controlling stake in its Nedbank Group unit to HSBC Holdings. Today’s gains for the London index extended its rise off July 1 lows to 8.9 percent.

EW82310_body_FTSE823.png, European Equities Halt Decline as Consumer Confidence Rebounds

CAC 40 / 3553.23 / +27.11 / +0.77%

The major French index rallied nearly 0.8 percent today as three shares rose for each that fell. Health care was the strongest sector, gaining 1.6 percent, while telecommunications rose 1.5 percent and industrials gained 1.1 percent. Technology shares were one of three lagging sectors on the index, declining 0.4 percent.

EW82310_body_CAC823.png, European Equities Halt Decline as Consumer Confidence Rebounds

DAX 30 / 6010.91 / +5.75 / +0.10%

German stocks rebounded from a one-month low, as Merck, Sky Deutschland, and Deutsche Bank posted impressive gains. Investors were encouraged by Germany’s PMI data, which showed that services rose more than expected in August, although manufacturing ticked slightly lower during the month. All eyes will now turn towards the country’s GDP release tomorrow.

IBEX 35 / 10221.20 / +126.90 / +1.26%

Spain’s IBEX 35 posted the largest gain among major European indices, rallying over 1 percent on the day. The financial sector was the largest source of strength, gaining 1.9 percent as Banco Santander rallied 2.3 percent and BBVA rose 1.6 percent.

FTSE MIB / 20010.34 / +139.88 / +0.70%