EUROPE MARKETS: European Stocks Close Higher As Traders Return From Christmas

By Sara Sjolin, MarketWatchFeaturesDow Jones Newswires

U.K.'s FTSE 100 closes at all-time high

European stocks finished slightly higher on Wednesday, with U.K. stocks leading the charge north to end at an all-time high as commodity companies rallied.

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What are markets doing: On the first trading day after the Christmas holidays, the Stoxx Europe 600 index rose 0.1% to close at 390.54.

The U.K.'s FTSE 100 index rose 0.4% to 7,620.68 scoring a record closing high (

Germany's DAX 30 index ended marginally lower at 13,070.02, while France's CAC 40 index rose 0.1% to 5,368.84.

The euro rose to $1.1896 from $1.1859 late Tuesday in New York.

"A thin volume trading is a general theme across the markets," said Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at Think Markets, in a note.

"Most traders are away on their holiday and we do not expect much action in the markets, however, the general portfolio rebalancing trade would be the most common feature between now and the end of this year," he added.

Stock movers: Mining firms helped lift markets, tracking positive moves for most metals prices. Copper advanced for a 15th straight sessions, up 0.2%.

Among miners, shares of Fresnillo PLC (FRES.LN) rose 3.5%, Randgold Resources Ltd. (RRS.LN) (RRS.LN) climbed 1.9% and Glencore PLC (GLEN.LN) added 2.1%.

Shares of IWG PLC (IWG.LN) rallied 27% after the global workplace provider said it has received an indicative offer proposal from funds managed by affiliates of Brookfield Asset Management Inc. (BAM) and Onex Corp. (ONEX.T).

Saipem SpA (SPM.MI) gained 3.7% after the Italian oil-and-gas contractor late Friday said it has signed several contracts for onshore and offshore projects valued around $380 million.

Shares of Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSB.LN) (RDSB.LN) gained 0.7% after the major oil company said the potential effect from the U.S. tax reform ( will be favorable. The company also said it expects a charge to its fourth-quarter earnings of $2 billion to $2.5 billion following the changes to in the U.S.

In the same vein, Barclays PLC (BCS) (BCS) said it expects to book a 1 billion pound ($1.3 billion) charge to its 2017 accounts ( following the changes in the U.S., which will also reduce its Core Equity Tier 1 ratio by 20 basis points. Barclays shares closed 0.3% higher on Wednesday.

The reason European companies are taking hits from the tax reform stateside is because of the adjustment in their deferred taxes. Companies can log deferred tax assets during loss-making quarters and then use them to offset future tax payments, essentially working as tax credits in the U.S. However, those assets will be worth less on paper when the tax reform comes into effect and as the headline corporate tax rate falls to 21% from 35%.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

December 27, 2017 12:34 ET (17:34 GMT)