Europe midday: M&A boosts luxury stocks, Eurozone GDP inches higher
European stocks were higher at noon on Thursday as merger talk in the luxury goods sector boosted sentiment, with mixed data out of the Eurozone and Germany also in focus.
At 1201 GMT, the Stoxx 600 was up by 0.5% at 405.23, as Germany's Dax rose by 0.2% to 13,172.66 and the French CAC 40 climbed by 0.8% to 5,845.93. London's FTSE 100 was down by 0.1% at 7,184.70.
According to data released by Eurostat, seasonally adjusted GDP rose by 0.2% across the 19 country-strong eurozone during the third quarter, in line with expectations and consistent with second quarter growth.
Pantheon Macroeconomics analyst Claus Vistesen said the primary driver of growth was a jump in consumers’ spending, with private investment, ex-inventories, and government spending also aiding the push higher.
"EZ consumers had a slow start to Q4 primarily thanks to a crash in German retail sales. A slowdown in the EZ’s largest economy had been coming given the weakness of the headline surveys, but it is too soon to say anything about Q4 as a whole. Black Friday sales almost surely provided a big boost to the November headline, and we’ll hold off judgement until we see these numbers," added Vistesen.
Data released by the Deutsche Bundesbank showed that German factory orders fell 0.4% in October following a revised 1.5% increase in September, missing expectations for a 0.3% rise.
On the year, factory orders declined 5.5% following a revised 5% drop the month before. However, this was better than the expected 6.1% drop.
Among individual stocks, luxury jacket and ski wear-maker Moncler surged after a Bloomberg report claimed that France’s Kering could be interested in buying the company. Other luxury stocks followed suit, with Hugo Boss, Burberry, LVMH and Hermes also in the green.
Konecranes climbed after the Finnish crane manufacturer agreed to buy the outstanding 50% stake in its South East Asian MHE-Demag joint venture for around €147m.
AIB and Bank of Ireland made gains following overnight debt ratings upgrades from Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s.
Dutch offshore oil and gas specialist SBM Offshore was also higher after signing contracts for construction projects with Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding and Offshore and China Merchants Industry Holdings.
Further afield, stock in Gazprom dipped after Interfax reported that a decision on the gas giant's dividend payout would be postponed until 12 December.