China Trade Data Lift European Shares


Demand for miners helped European shares rise on Wednesday, following strong Chinese trade data which served to underpin major European indexes around multi-year highs.

Signs of a better outlook for China helped maintain bullish sentiment in equities which on Tuesday saw German and U.S. stocks hit record highs.

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STOXX 600 Basic Resources, which include mining and commodity related stocks, rose 1 percent along with a firmer copper price following the data.

"The miners will get a short term bounce, although I still think that will be a losing position if you held it for the rest of the year," Rober Quinn, chief of European equity strategy at Standard and Poor's Capital IQ, said. The sector is down 13 percent on the year.

European shares are at multi-year or record highs despite weak domestic economic data, thanks in part to hopes of growth in China and the United States as well as central bank stimulus helping to support asset prices.

By 1022 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 was up 0.4 percent at 1,225.34, having hit 1,225.65, its highest level since July 2008.

"Optimism is very strong. I don't see how we get much higher than here in the near term, but you don't fight a winning market like this," Quinn added.

The German DAX built on the all-time highs set on Tuesday, up 0.5 percent, led up by a 5.8 percent rise in Henkel .

The consumer goods group posted a better-than-expected rise in first quarter operating profit on strong demand for its washing powders, cleaning products and shampoos.

In general, Europe's earnings season has been disappointing, with 53 percent of STOXX 600 companies having missed expectations in the year to date, compared with 27 percent in the United States, Thomson Reuters StarMine data shows.

One weaker reporter on Wednesday was Standard Chartered , down 4.8 percent after suffering a drop in first-quarter operating profit the session after good results for peer HSBC had fuelled optimism for its report.

"HSBC's results yesterday were pretty good, and sympathy with that took them up higher last session... Revenue and profit have hit them, and a couple of clients have wanted to short it, but it's still a good bank," Richard Curr, head of dealing at Prime Markets, said.

Curr added that he saw the stock at a long term value buy around the three-month low around 1,560 pence.