Financials drive European stocks bounce after Fed hit | News


(Reuters) – European shares recovered from early losses on Thursday as a solid batch of bank earnings outweighed the impact of falling expectations of U.S. interest rate cuts and a slump in Shell shares after its worst results in more than two years.

Shares in London Stock Exchange Group jumped 5.9% after it formally announced its $27 billion merger with financial information firm Refinitiv, driving a 1.5% surge in Europe’s financial services index <.SXFP> to a record high.

Barclays gained 2.7% after the British bank raised its interim dividend following a resilient performance by its trading unit that contrasted with weakening numbers at U.S. competitors.

Similarly, Asia-focused lender Standard Chartered rose 4.1% after topping first-half profit estimates, pulling the pan-European benchmark STOXX 600 index <.STOXX> 0.2% higher.

“After a difficult Q1, when profits came in below the level a year before, Q2 appears to have been a much better quarter for Barclays,” said CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson.

“This would appear to be a welcome boost for CEO Jes Staley whose strategy for turning the bank around has come under fire.”

Both Asia and Wall Street markets had fallen overnight after the U.S. Federal Reserve as expected cut interest rates but disappointed investors hoping for a clear sign of several more cuts to come to support growth and stock market valuations.

The euro zone looks in weaker shape than the United States and a 5% slide in Siemens after the German industrial said it was seeing a weaker environment in many of its key markets, illustrated Europe Inc’s headaches with finding growth outside of debt-driven consumer spending.

The continent’s biggest online-only fashion retailer, Zalando , underlined that trend, climbing 10.2% after raising its full-year profit outlook and following upbeat earnings from sportswear maker Puma on Wednesday.

London Stock Exchange’s deal to buy Refinitiv, in which Reuters News parent Thomson Reuters holds a 45% stake, had been telegraphed last week and shares in the exchange operator have reached a record high in response.

The deal will transform the British company into a market data and analytics giant and position it to compete with Bloomberg as both a distributor and creator of financial data.

The dent to sentiment from the Fed hurt commodities markets overnight, with a fall in iron ore, copper and oil prices pulling down shares in mining and energy majors.

The oil and gas sector slid 1%, while the materials index <.SXPP> fell 2.5%, with London-listed shares of Rio Tinto slipped inspite of reporting a 12% jump in first-half profit and declaring a bumper dividend.

Steelmaker ArcelorMittal revised down its forecast for global steel demand, with a sharper reduction expected in Europe due to a lean automotive market.

(Reporting by Susan Mathew and Medha Singh in Bengaluru; editing by Patrick Graham)

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