Europe open: Shares higher on China exports, US stimulus hopes
European shares opened higher on Thursday, driven by positive economic data from China and continuing hopes of a larger US fiscal stimulus package under incoming President Joe Biden.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.39% while Germany’s DAX index was up 0.4%.
Biden is expected to outline his plans for the economy later on Thursday, with reports suggesting he could propose $2 trn in stimulus.
In Asia, China’s December exports grew more than expected as coronavirus disruptions around the world fuelled demand for Chinese goods.
In equity news, supermarket chain Carrefour fell 6% after the French government raised concerns about a possible merger with Canadian convenience-store operator Alimentation Couche-Tard.
Shares in Italian-American carmaker Fiat Chrysler fell after the company on Wednesday said the payment of a planned €2.9bn special dividend as part of its merger with France’s PSA had “become unconditional”.
The special dividend, worth 1.84 euros per share, will be paid on Jan. 29, Fiat Chrysler (FCA) said in a statement.
Centrica shares rose after the company said it expected annual earnings to beat expectations but British Gas's owner said it was cautious about the outlook for energy demand and bad debts.
Shares in semiconductor equipment makers ASMI and ASML were higher after Barclays boosted its price target on the stocks.