December 12, 2017
Monday, January 19, 2015

European shares hit 7-year high as Italian banks rally

European shares hit a seven-year high today, rising for a third day as Italian banks rallied on the prospect of a corporate governance revamp, and Swiss stocks clawed back some of last week's losses.

Broader market sentiment has been supported by expectations the European Central Bank will on Thursday unveil plans to buy sovereign bonds to try to fight deflation and revive growth.

Shares in co-operative Italian banks rose on the back of a draft government decree which would abolish a rule granting one vote to each shareholder regardless of the size of their stake.

Popolare Milano, Banca Popolare dell'Emilia Romagna, Banco Popolare and UBI were up between 8 percent and 14 percent.

Swiss bank Julius Baer was the top gainer among larger European stocks as it rose 5.9 percent. The private bank said it did not suffer any losses in the two trading days after the Swiss National Bank's decision to abandon a three-year cap on the franc.

The Swiss benchmark index SMI was up 3.2 percent having shed 13 percent last week after the central bank's shock decision sent the franc soaring, denting the attractiveness of Swiss exports.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares closed 0.2 percent higher at 1,409.92 points, after hitting the highest level since early 2008 at 1,418.11 points.

The index cut its gains shortly before the close, with oil and basic resource stocks weighing.

Meanwhile, Japan's Nikkei share average rose after strong US economic data buoyed sentiment and the weaker yen helped exporters such as Honda Motor Co, but Sharp Corp tumbled on a profit warning.

The Nikkei rose 0.9 percent to 17,014.29, recovering from a 2-1/2-month low of 16,592.57 hit on Friday.

But trading was thin, with only 2.040 billion shares changing hands.

The broader Topix gained 0.6 percent to 1,372.41. The JPX-Nikkei Index 400 advanced 0.7 percent to 12,469.58. Sharp dived 8.8 percent after it warned on Monday it will likely miss this year's earnings target.

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Tags:  Stocks  shares  FTSEurofirst  Nikkei  US  Dow Jones  

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