6 May 2009

European stocks keep rising

7:11 am on 6 May 2009

European shares hit their highest level in nearly four months on Tuesday.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares closed 0.5% higher at 846.81 points.

The index is now up 2% to date this year after a slump of 45% for all of 2008.

Record quarterly profits were reported by Standard Chartered - a UK-listed bank, which gets two-thirds of its revenue from Asia.

Standard Chartered rose 8.5%. Other banks also registered substantial gains. HSBC rose 7.4%, Barclays was up 6.8%, Lloyds was up 10.5%, Societe Generale gained 8.2% and Royal Bank of Scotland rose 9.1%.

Despite a rally in European rally, the focus remained on the stress tests of banks in the United States.

The banks have been negotiating with regulators about the extent of their capital needs.

Banks are expected to be briefed on Tuesday on the final results, which will be published on Thursday.

In Frankfurt, the DAX index ended at 4,853.03 points, down 49.42 or 1.01%. In Paris - the CAC-40 index closed at 3,225 points, down 12.97 or 0.40%.

The Swiss market index closed at 5,280.93 points, down 37.41 or 0.70%.

In London, the FTSE 100 closed at 4,336.94 points, up 93.72 or 2.21%. The index is now up 26% from a six-year low hit on 9 March.

London was closed for a public holiday on Monday.

Other markets

Financial markets in Japan remain closed until 6 May for a series of national holidays. Last Friday the Nikkei rose 149.11 points to 8,977.37, its highest finish since 7 January.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index closed up 49.03 points higher, 0.3%, at 16,430.08 - its highest for six and a half-months.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 index added 7.4 points, 0.2%, to 3,890.4 - its highest close since 12 November.

In New Zealand, the NZX50 rose by almost 2%, up 52 points to 2819 on a turnover of $104 million.