EUROPE MARKETS: European Stocks Get A Lift As North Korea Tensions Cool

By Carla Mozee, MarketWatch Features Dow Jones Newswires

Ryanair shares drop after flight cancellations; Bundesbank sees growth momentum slowing

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European stocks pushed higher Monday, with the week getting under way with tensions surrounding North Korea cooling, but Ryanair Holdings PLC underperformed the broader market as the company canceled hundreds of flights.

The Stoxx Europe 600 index picked up 0.3% to close at 381.95. On Friday, the pan-European benchmark slipped 0.3% (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/european-stocks-head-for-16-weekly-rise-as-investors-shake-off-north-korea-jitters-2017-09-15), but finished last week up by 1.4%.

Monday's gains followed advances in Asian equity markets, where South Korea's Kospi Index jumped 1.4%. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the U.S. is seeking "a peaceful solution" to the conflict with North Korea as a military option is the only one left if diplomatic efforts fail. Tillerson made the remarks on CBS's "Face the Nation" on Sunday (https://www.cbsnews.com/news/transcript-u-s-secretary-of-state-rex-tillerson-on-face-the-nation-sept-17-2017/).

"Tensions with North Korea are likely to remain a distraction, however markets appear to be becoming desensitised to them at this time," said CMC Markets UK chief market analyst Michael Hewson, in a note.

Stock movers: Ryanair Holdings PLC (RYAAY) dropped 1.9% as the carrier continued its plan, started late week, to cancel between 40 to 50 flights a day over the next six weeks in a bid to improve punctuality.

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Hiscox Ltd. (HSX.LN) fell 0.7% as the insurer estimated net claims from Hurricane Harvey will total $150 million (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/hiscox-puts-hurricane-harvey-claims-at-150-mln-2017-09-18). The company said it would announce an estimate for Hurricane Irma once the storm's impact becomes clearer.

Telecom Italia SpA shares (TIT.MI) closed up 4.7% following reports the Italian government will examine France's Vivendi SA's (VIV.FR) control of the Italian telecommunications company. The review will aim to establish whether Vivendi complied with legal obligations when it built its stake in Telecom Italia, according to the New York Times (https://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2017/09/17/business/17reuters-vivendi-telecom-italia-goldenpower.html?partner=IFTTT).

Data: Eurostat confirmed eurozone inflation rose to 1.5% in August, and core inflation rose to 1.2%, with both figures meeting expectations. Headline inflation was 1.3% in July.

German economic growth may have lost some momentum during the third quarter, Bundesbank said in its September report released Monday (https://www.bundesbank.de/Redaktion/DE/Downloads/Veroeffentlichungen/Monatsberichte/2017/2017_09_monatsbericht.pdf?__blob=publicationFile), as some economic indicators at the start of the summer quarter were more subdued than expected. But overall, the central bank expects growth to remain on a strong expansionary course.

National indexes: Germany's DAX 30 index pared gains after the Bundesbank report. The benchmark closed 0.3% higher at 12,559.39. France's CAC 40 index moved up 0.3% to 5,229.32. The FTSE 100 rose 0.5% to 7,253.28 (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/ftse-100-reaches-for-first-gain-in-5-sessions-as-geopolitical-tensions-ease-2017-09-18).

In Portugal, the PSI 20 climbed 1.6% after S&P Global Ratings late Friday raised Portugal's credit rating to investment-grade status (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/sp-raises-portugal-credit-rating-to-investment-grade-2017-09-15), up by one notch to BBB-. The yield on Portugal's 10-year dropped 38 basis points to 2.407% as prices climbed.

The euro bought $1.1940, little changed from $1.1947 late Friday in New York.

Read:German election: Who's Merkel up against and what are their chances? (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/german-election-whos-merkel-up-against-and-how-could-they-shape-the-new-government-2017-08-31)

Also:Don't call the German election boring--it could be huge leap or setback for the eurozone (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/dont-call-the-german-election-boring-it-could-mean-a-huge-shift-for-the-eurozone-2017-09-18)

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

September 18, 2017 12:26 ET (16:26 GMT)