EUROPE MARKETS: European Stocks Push Higher, With Banks Up As Investors Embrace Risk

By Carla Mozee, MarketWatch Features Dow Jones Newswires

European stocks advanced Tuesday, with gains for financial shares reflecting an improvement for perceived riskier assets such as equities among investors.

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The Stoxx Europe 600 index picked up 0.5% to 381.34. All sectors rose, led by the financial and basic materials groups. The benchmark on Monday surged 1% (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/european-stocks-bounce-up-as-appetite-for-risk-returns-2017-09-11), the largest rise in four weeks, as concerns about Hurricane Irma and North Korea's weapons program receded.

"Market sentiment continues to improve again as the key risk events that drove the safe haven flow at the end of last week continues to unwind, which has helped the dollar and equities higher," said Richard Perry, market analyst at Hantec Markets.

"With the destruction of Hurricane Irma not as bad as feared and Kim Jong Un opting simply for a [Foundation Day] party that did not go off with a bang, there has been a significant retracement of some of the huge declines on Treasury yields," said Perry.

Investors worldwide had sought refuge from risks in bonds. But as that is reversing, prices are declining and yields are moving higher, which bodes well for interest-rate sensitive banks. The Stoxx Europe 600 Bank Index was up 1% on Tuesday. Shares of Deutsche Bank (DBK.XE) popped up 1.9%, Commerzbank AG (CBK.XE) picked up 2.5% and Banco Santander SA (SAN) moved up 0.5%.

As Irma's wrath wasn't as destructive as anticipated, the Stoxx Europe 600 Insurance Index rose 0.5%. AXA SA (AXAHY) was up 0.8% and Swiss Re AG (SSREY) tacked on 0.5%. But Beazley PLC (BEZ.LN) pulled back 0.9%, giving back a portion of Monday's 4.3% rise.

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Stock movers: Ashtead Group PLC (AHT.LN) jumped 6.1%, to become the strongest performer on the FTSE 100. The equipment rental company posted a 29% rise in pretax profit and said Hurricanes Harvey and Irma may bolster demand. (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/ashtead-hurricanes-may-increase-fleet-demand-2017-09-12)

(http://www.marketwatch.com/story/ashtead-hurricanes-may-increase-fleet-demand-2017-09-12)Whitbread PLC (WTB.LN) fell 2.4% after Citigroup downgraded its rating to sell from buy, saying it's "cautious on European hotels." Whitbread runs the Premier Inn hotel chain.

Indexes: Germany's DAX 30 index rose 0.5% to 12,531.24 and France's CAC 30 index rose 0.4% to 5,198.64. Spain's IBEX 35 moved up 0.3% to 10,350.80.

But the FTSE 100 flipped lower, losing 0.1% at 7,403.60. The move came as the pound jumped following U.K. inflation data that was stronger than expected. Inflation rose to 2.9% in August year-over-year, more than a FactSet estimate of 2.8%.

The euro traded at $1.1963, little changed from $1.1953 late Monday in New York.

Read:Why the Swiss central bank may be betting on a stronger euro (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/why-the-swiss-central-bank-is-betting-on-a-stronger-euro-analysts-say-2017-09-11)

In other developments Tuesday, Swedish inflation rose to 2.3% in August. Analysts polled by FactSet had expected a 2.2% reading.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

September 12, 2017 05:18 ET (09:18 GMT)