Europe midday: Shares higher on hopes of bigger Biden package
European shares were higher at lunchtime on Thursday driven by hopes of a potentially increased US stimulus package from incoming US President Joe Biden.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.4%, with electronic chipmakers leading the gainers.
Germany’s DAX was up 0.2% after preliminary data showed the economy shrank by a smaller-than-expected 5% in 2020, reflecting government action to limit the impact caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Italy’s FTSE MIB slipped after former premier Matteo Renzi pulled his small party out of government, stripping the ruling coalition of its parliamentary majority, triggering yet another Italian political crisis.
Reports overnight suggested Biden could spend $2trn on coronavirus relief, more than expected. He is scheduled to unveil his plans on Thursday.
European chipmakers were higher on news that Taiwan’s TSMC posted a record high quarterly profit due to demand for devices requiring high-end chips. BE Semiconductors rose 6%, while ASMI and ASML were both higher.
French carmaker PSA rose 4% after reporting sales in Europe recovered in the second half of 2020 and were back to growth in the fourth quarter. Shares in Fiat Chrysler, which is to merge with PSA, fell 9%.
Carrefour fell 6.6% after French government ministers raised concerns about its €16bn takeover by Canadian convenience-store operator Couche-Tard.