EUROPE MARKETS: European Stocks Rise As Eurozone Economic Activity Hovers At 6-year High

By Carla Mozee, MarketWatch Features Dow Jones Newswires

Nokia settles disputes with Apple

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European stocks rose Tuesday, with French shares among biggest advancers as eurozone economic activity remained at a six-year high.

The Stoxx Europe 600 was up 0.2% at 391.85, led by technology and financial shares, according to FactSet data. But losses for health care, oil and consumer-related shares weighed.

Travel-related shares edged lower following a suspected terror attack by a suicide bomber in Manchester, England, that killed 22 people, including children, and injured 59 (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/death-toll-rises-to-22-in-suspected-suicide-bombing-in-manchester-2017-05-23) as people left an Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena on Monday night.

"We are working closely with the national counter terrorism policing network and U.K. intelligence partners," Greater Manchester Police said in a statement.

On the Stoxx 600, shares of amusement parks operator Merlin Entertainments PLC (MERL.LN) fell 0.9% and InterContinental Hotels Group PLC (IHG) slipped 0.1%. But British Airways parent International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (IAG.LN) was up 0.5% and French hotel chain operator Accor SA (AC.FR) was up 0.7%.

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Political campaigning ahead of the U.K.'s general election on June 8 was suspended Tuesday. In London, the U.K.'s FTSE 100 was up 0.1% at 7,504.22 (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/cautious-start-to-trade-in-uk-stocks-after-suspected-terror-attack-in-manchester-2017-05-23), and the more domestically focused FTSE 250 was up 0.3%.

Eurozone growth: In Paris, the CAC 40 rose 0.7% to 5,360.52, gaining momentum after IHS Markit said a preliminary reading of French services activity in May rose to 58.0, above the FactSet consensus of 56.8. That helped the composite index reach a 72-month high, although manufacturing output was at a two-month low.

The figures indicated an 11th straight month of private sector growth in Europe's third-largest economy, said IHS Markit.

Overall, the IHS Markit eurozone PMI held a six-year high in May, at 56.8.

In Germany, the flash manufacturing PMI hit a 73-month high at 59.4, above an estimate of 58.0, even as services activity was at a three-month low. Separately, the closely watched Ifo business climate survey climbed to 114.6, an all-time high.

"Today's strong German data add to the evidence that, not only the German economy, but the entire eurozone economy could become the positive growth surprise of 2017," said Carsten Brzeski, chief economist at ING, in a note.

"This sentiment is also spreading across financial markets, with many market participants now realizing that the eurozone economy had been written off too early," he said. However, "be aware of the sugar rush. Despite the cyclical upswing, structural problems in the eurozone economy have not disappeared."

Germany's DAX 30 index , which is made up of companies that are heavily dependent on exports, was up 0.3% at 12,655.29, and has recently hit high all-time highs.

The euro traded at $1.1260, up from $1.1238 late Monday in New York.

In Spain, the IBEX 35 jumped 1% and Italy's FTSE MIB rose 0.6%.

Stock movers: Nokia (NOK) (NOK) climbed 6.5% after it and Apple Inc. (AAPL) settled long-running intellectual property disputes and agreed to a multi-year patent license (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/nokia-apple-end-disputes-enter-patent-license-2017-05-23). Financial details weren't disclosed, but Nokia will receive an up-front cash payment from Apple along with additional revenue during the term of the agreement.

Severn Trent PLC shares (SVT.LN) rose 1.5% after the British water company's upgraded its dividend policy (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/severn-trent-earnings-up-upgrades-dividend-policy-2017-05-23) and posted a rise in fiscal 2017 earnings.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 23, 2017 05:57 ET (09:57 GMT)