European Markets Finish Higher Despite Early Jitters

The European markets ended Thursday’s session with gains. Investors were in a cautious mood ahead of a crucial vote on healthcare reform in the U.S. Congress. After a weak start, the markets inched into positive territory later in the morning and advanced further in the afternoon. The afternoon gains coincided with an upward move on Wall Street that brought the U.S. markets firmly into positive territory.

The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote on the Republican plan to repeal and replace Obamacare later today. The GOP’s ability to pass the healthcare bill is seen as crucial to efforts to address President Donald Trump’s other priorities, including tax reform and infrastructure spending.

Investors continue to monitor the latest developments in London after yesterday’s terror attack around the Houses of Parliament. However, the attack has had little impact on the markets.

Euro area economic recovery is steadily firming and the trend is likely to continue with growth firming and broadening going ahead, the European Central Bank said Thursday.

“The economic recovery in the euro area is steadily firming,” the central bank said in its latest Economic Bulletin.

“Incoming data, notably survey results, have increased the Governing Council’s confidence that the ongoing economic expansion will continue to firm and broaden.”

Overall, surveys point to a robust growth momentum in the first quarter of 2017, the bank said.

The pan-European Stoxx Europe 600 index advanced 0.80 percent. The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone blue chip stocks increased 0.91 percent, while the Stoxx Europe 50 index, which includes some major U.K. companies, added 0.90 percent.

The DAX of Germany climbed 1.14 percent and the CAC 40 of France rose 0.76 percent. The FTSE 100 of the U.K. gained 0.22 percent and the SMI of Switzerland finished higher by percent.

In Frankfurt, BASF finished higher by 1.15 percent after Stahl agreed to acquire its leather chemicals business.

In London, IG Group…

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