Europe midday: Shares extend gains as investors bargain hunt
European shares extended gains at midday on Friday as investors went bargain hunting at the end of a volatile week driven by fears over inflation and more aggressive interest rate rises.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 index was up 1.32% in early deals with all major regional bourses higher. US futures indicated a brighter start on Wall Street.
“Investors are continuing to wrestling with worries over inflation as the oil price climbs back up again and supply concerns resurface amid ongoing geo-political tensions. As the era of cheap money has hurtled to an end, lowering liquidity in the markets, trading in the sessions ahead is set to stay volatile,” said Hargreaves Lansdown analyst Susannah Streeter.
Oil prices were up slightly, trading around $109 as investors await moves from the European Union on a ban on Russian crude and also eye measures in China as the country continues its zero-Covid policy with strict lockdowns, sparking fears of a slowdown in the domestic economy.
On the economic front, Eurozone Industrial production fell 1.8% in March compared with February, according to data released by European Union statistics agency Eurostat on Friday. On a year-on-year basis output fell by 0.8% in the single currency area.
In equity news, shares in Belgian pharma company UCB slumped as the US Food and Drug Administration rejected a license application for its bimekizumab psoriasis drug.
Finland’s Fortum Oyj gained after the state-owned utility announced plans to leave Russia by selling assets.
Shares in Vodafone slipped after a downgrade to 'hold' from ‘buy’ by Jefferies and a cut in the price target to 125p from 150p as the broker pointed to "intractable headwinds".
Reporting by Frank Prenesti.
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