LONDON (SHARECAST) - Most major European markets closed higher on Tuesday as encouraging data from the US outweighed disappointing debt auctions by Spain and Italy.
The S&P/Case-Shiller index of property values in 20 US cities increased 1.2% in July compared to the same month last year; that’s the biggest rise in nearly two years and beat expectations of a 1% rise.
Consumer confidence also appears to be on the rise Stateside as the Conference Board’s index rose to 70.3 in September from a reading of 61.3 in August.
Less pleasing was news of short term debt auctions by Spain and Italy in which interest rates rose and the bid-to-cover ratio fell.
Everyone is waiting for a formal request for aid by the Spanish government to the European Central Bank.
The debt-strapped country’s Deputy Prime Minister, Soraya Saenz de Santamaria, said today the administration needed to know the amount of Spanish debt the European Central Bank was prepared to buy before requesting intervention in the secondary debt market.
To many this sounded like a bargaining tactic, with Spain’s politicians anxious over the extent of budget cuts they would be required to make in exchange for debt purchases.
On the Stoxx Europe 600 the strongest sector was media, rising 1.3%. The weakest was automobiles and parts which declined 1.34%.
Swiss chemicals Lonza firm rose 3% after several British newspapers reported the company could be a takeover target for German chemicals goliath BASF.
German outfit Sudzucker, the biggest producer of sugar in the world, rose 3.4% after increasing its profits forecast.
German tyre maker Continental made a recovery in afternoon trading having fallen by as much as 4% after one of its shareholders was forced to sell over 10% of the stock to pay down debts.