EUROPE MARKETS: European Stocks Head Higher As Euro Pulls Back

By Carla Mozee, MarketWatchFeaturesDow Jones Newswires

Car maker shares head higher

European stocks gained ground Tuesday, putting the regional benchmark within striking distance of a new 2018 high.

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A slide in the euro was giving a lift to shares of exporters. Gains for auto makers and German fashion house Hugo Boss AG were also helping drive the Stoxx Europe 600 index higher.

How are markets moving?

The Stoxx Europe 600 index rose 0.3% to 399.42, led by utility and tech shares. The oil and gas, and basic materials sectors were the only ones losing ground.

The pan-European benchmark was not far from its 2018 closing high of 400.11, logged on Jan. 9. On Monday, the benchmark fell 0.2%, (fell%200.2%%20to%20end%20at%20397.83,%20erasing%20part%20of%20last%20week%e2%80%99s%20rise%20rise%20of%200.3%.) hurt by the euro's further climb into three-year highs.

Germany's DAX 30 index gained 0.9% to 13,320.57, and France's CAC 40 was up 0.3% at 5,529.34.

The U.K.'s FTSE 100 index tacked on 0.1% to reach 7,779.44, moving around a record closing high (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/ftse-100-scrabbles-to-hold-onto-record-as-bp-falls-2018-01-16) from last week.

The euro bought $1.2214, down from $1.2264 late Monday in New York.

What's driving markets?

Stocks were finding some relief in the euro's pullback, which can make European exports cheaper and so more attractive for overseas buyers.

The shared currency was edging back from Monday's gain of 0.5% against the U.S. dollar, its fourth session rise in a row. It advanced 2.7% over those sessions, according to WSJ Market Data Group.

The euro softened somewhat after Ardo Hansson, a member of the European Central Bank's Governing Council, said the central bank could call a complete halt to its bond buying after September, according to media reports (https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-ecb-policy-hansson/ecb-could-end-bond-buys-in-one-go-after-sept-hansson-idUSKBN1F4256). Speaking in an interview with German newspaper Boersen-Zeitung, Hansson said if economic growth and inflation remain in line with projections, it would be "conceivable and also appropriate" end the program.

European equities were also seen as tracking the U.S. stock markets higher. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped more than 200 points, indicating a fresh record above 26,000 at the open (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/dow-on-track-for-200-point-jump-putting-26000-within-reach-2018-01-16), when traders return from Monday's Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday.

Which stocks are active?

Hugo Boss AG shares (BOSS.XE) climbed 3.2% after the German apparel and accessories maker posted a 5% rise in preliminary fourth-quarter sales (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/hugo-boss-revenue-up-sees-earnings-on-track-2018-01-16) to EUR735 million ($900 million), bolstered in part by double-digit growth in the U.S.

Peugeot SA (UG.FR) tacked on 1.5% after the French auto maker said it expects a 15% rise in global sales for 2017.

Continental AG (CON.XE) rose 1.6% after Reuters reported the German auto components makers has hired J.P. Morgan to advise about a possible breakup of the company (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-continental-restructuring/germanys-continental-hires-jp-morgan-for-potential-break-up-sources-idUSKBN1F500U). The report cited sources familiar with the matter.

Shares of German auto makers helped lift the DAX 30, with Volkswagen AG (VOW.XE) and Daimler AG (DAI.XE) rising 2.2% and 0.7%, respectively.

BP PLC (BP.LN) (BP.LN) fell 1.9% after the oil producer said it expects to book a $1.7 billion charge (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/bp-to-book-17-billion-deepwater-horizon-charge-2018-01-16-34853027) in its 2017 fourth-quarter results for claims related to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Shares of plastic packaging supplier RPC Group PLC (RPC.LN) and car dealer Inchcape PLC (INCH.LN) dropped 2.5% and 2.1%, respectively, following ratings downgrades to hold from buy at Berenberg.

Associated British Foods (ABF.LN) picked up 1.3% following a ratings upgrade to overweight from equal weight at Barclays.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 16, 2018 06:29 ET (11:29 GMT)