Sun, Jun 28, 2015 - Page 15 News List

European markets waver as Athens mulls action


European stocks were little changed, after swinging between gains and losses, as investors weighed the possibility of a successful outcome to last-ditch Greek talks.

The STOXX Europe 600 Index rose 0.1 percent to 396.85 at the close of trading on Friday. Shares erased a decline of as much as 0.8 percent after an official said Greece’s creditors proposed a five-month extension to the aid program and 15.5 billion euros (US$17.4 billion) in disbursements to help seal a debt agreement.

The gauge then pared gains of as much as 0.5 percent when Athens News Agency reported the Greek government rejected the offer.

“If you’re looking at an investment horizon of at least the rest of the year, Greece — whether or not the outcome is a new bailout — is not that important for European equities,” Copenhagen-based Saxo Bank market strategist Mads Koefoed said. “We’ll shift back to the fundamentals after a bit of commotion.”

The benchmark European equity gauge posted a 2.9 percent weekly gain, leaving it down 0.1 percent in the quarter. Greece’s ASE Index rose 2 percent on Friday, the best performer among western European markets.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande Friday, while finance ministers reconvened yesterday in a last-ditch attempt to thrash out an agreement. Greece owes the IMF 1.5 billion euros at the end of the month.

Among shares active on corporate news, K+S AG soared 30 percent. People familiar with the matter said the German potash supplier might reject as too low a takeover offer from Canadian fertilizer producer Potash Corp of Saskatchewan Inc.

Tesco PLC added 2.7 percent after the UK’s biggest supermarket chain posted a smaller-than-forecast decline in quarterly sales. J Sainsbury PLC rose 0.7 percent.

Commodity producers fell the most among 19 industry groups on the STOXX 600. Anglo American PLC and BHP Billiton Ltd lost at least 2.5 percent.

ARM Holdings PLC dropped 5.1 percent after Sanford C. Bernstein cut its rating on the chip designer to underperform, similar to sell.

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