European stocks had an enormous day on Wednesday, rallying hugely after investors took strong data coming out of China as a sign that the country’s economy is doing better than expected. Investors also shrugged off concerns about Europe’s industrial sector, despite Eurostat data showing that production slipped 0.8% in January across the eurozone.
All of Europe’s biggest indexes closed substantially higher on the day, with gains being led by Italy’s FTSE MIB. The MIB closed up by 4%. On a stock-by-stock basis, the MIB was helped by a resurgence in banking stocks, which gave a belated thumbs up to the government’s bailout package for Italy’s smaller banks.
Three banks, Banca Monte dei Paschi da Siena, Unicredit, and Banca Popolare Emilia Romagna, gained more than 10% on the day, while virtually all banks were up more than 5%. Here’s how the MIB looked at the close:
Elsewhere, the FTSE 100 gained 2%, with mining stocks and banks leading the way. HSBC and RBS were among the UK banks to gain more than 6% on the day. Tesco was the FTSE’s biggest faller, despite reporting a profit in the financial year to February. The FTSE’s 2% gain was the smallest of Europe’s major indexes. Here’s how it closed:
Here’s the scoreboard for the rest of Europe:
- Germany’s DAX — up 2.66%
- France’s CAC 40 — up 3.37%
- Spain’s IBEX 35 — up 2.86%
- The Netherlands AEX — up 2.45%
- Euro Stoxx 50 broad index — up 3.35%
Elsewhere in the markets, oil posted small losses, as investors brace themselves for the upcoming oil producer meeting in Qatar, while the FX markets were relatively quiet, although the Russian rouble gained strongly earlier in the day.