European stocks on Friday closed little changed, paring earlier losses, as banks rallied and French shares climbed after polls showed anti-eurozone candidate Marine Le Pen lagging rival Emmanuel Macron for the first time.
The STOXX Europe 600 dropped 0.1 percent to close at 375.23, after earlier sliding as much as 0.5 percent, but finished the week up 1.4 percent from its close of 370.01 on Feb. 24.
France’s CAC 40 Index climbed 0.6 percent to close at 4,995.13, its highest level since August 2015. That compared with its close of 4,845.24 on Feb. 24, a weekly increase of 4 percent.
US INTEREST RATE HIKE
Investors were also awaiting a speech by US Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen after European markets closed, following hawkish comments by her colleagues earlier this week that boosted bets for an interest rate hike this month.
Banks have been the biggest beneficiaries of that speculation, leading gains among industry groups and helping send the STOXX 600 to its best weekly advance this year.
“The US remains the key driver of markets right now. Such has been the turnaround in expectations, that a rate move looks more or less a done deal,” CMC Markets London-based market analyst Michael Hewson wrote in a note.
Traders are pricing in a 92 percent chance of a rate increase when the Fed announces its decision on March 15, up from 40 percent just a week ago, Fed fund futures showed.
Among shares active on corporate news, Berendsen PLC slumped 11 percent after the provider of industrial laundry services forecast operating profit for this year would be below estimates.
WPP PLC dropped 8 percent, dragging media shares to the worst performance in the STOXX 600, after it projected slower growth and weaker new business.
Softbank Group Corp plans to keep a stake in the chip designer Arm Ltd, even if it sells a partial interest to Nvidia Corp, the Nikkei reported. The companies are negotiating terms, the newspaper reported, citing sources. Softbank might take a stake in Nvidia after it buys Arm, the report said. Nvidia and Arm might also merge through a share swap, and Softbank would become a major shareholder in the combined company, it said. The two parties aim to reach a deal in the next few weeks, the sources said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. Nvidia is the
MOVING FROM CHINA? The article did not name the company, but Foxconn, Wistron and Pegatron were among firms chosen for a production-linked incentive plan in India An Apple Inc vendor is looking at shifting six production lines to India from China, which could result in US$5 billion of iPhone exports from the South Asian nation, the Times of India reported, citing people familiar with the matter who it did not identify. The establishment of the facility would create about 55,000 jobs over about a year, the newspaper reported, not naming the Apple vendor. It would also cater to the domestic market and expand operations to include tablets and laptops, the newspaper reported. Samsung Electronics Co and Apple’s assembly partners are among 22 companies that have pledged 110 billion
Gold surged to a fresh record on Friday, fueled by US dollar weakness and low interest rates, while silver headed for its best month since 1979. Spot bullion is up more than 10 percent this month, as US real yields lingered near record lows. While the ferocity of rallies in gold and silver cooled in the middle of the week, most market watchers predict there might be more gains ahead. Both metals have added about 30 percent this year, with gold and silver exchange-traded funds boosting holdings to a record, as concern about the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic fuels demand for
‘ONE-STOCK SHOW’: Turnover hit an all-time high as TSMC continued to determine the local market’s direction and surpassed Visa in market capitalization The TAIEX early yesterday hit an all-time intraday high on the back of soaring Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) shares, before tumbling back to the previous day’s close as the contract chipmaker could not single-handedly prop up the index. The TAIEX rose more than 400 points in the first 20 minutes of trading to hit a record 13,031.7 points, but later pared its gains to close down 0.01 percent at 12,586.73. Turnover was NT$343.252 billion (US$11.63 billion), the highest in the Taiwan Stock Exchange’s history. TSMC continued to dictate the market’s direction, as its early surge by the daily