European Stocks Rise with Politics in Focus

European stocks were higher on Monday, as investors weighed new political developments and Wall Street closed at a record high.

By midday trade in Europe, France’s CAC 40 was up by 0.56% and Euro Stoxx 50 was up by 0.46%. Germany’s DAX 30 increased by 0.47%.

A new poll in Germany found that Martin Schulz would help the Social Democrats beat Angela Merkel’s conservatives in a direct vote.

North Korea fired a ballistic missile on Sunday, while U.S. President Donald Trump met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in a weekend summit.

Germany announced that wholesale prices increased by 0.8% in January, beating expectations of a 0.3% increase. On a year-on-year basis, prices are up by 4%, which fueled concerns of inflation in the country.

The EC (European Commission) released its economic forecasts, in which they increased their estimate for growth in the euro area to 1.6% from the previous 1.5% projection.

The commission also raised its inflation forecast from 1.7% to 1.4%.

Oil prices were lower on Monday after the U.S. reported increased drilling activity. Investors are still awaiting the monthly report from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) for evidence that producers are adhering to the planned output reduction.

Financial and energy stocks were mixed. Italy-based Intesa Sanpaolo dropped 0.28%, while Unicredit rose by 0.79%. Spain’s Banco Santander gained 0.08%.

London’s FTSE 100 rose by 0.02%, with copper and mining shares gaining after a strike by BHP Billiton workers in Chile.

Glencore shares were up by 1.96%, while Rio Tinto increased by 2.23%, and BHP Billiton jumped 1.34%. Anglo American rose by 2.14%.

Royal Dutch Shell gained 0.05%, while BP dipped 0.67%.

London’s financial stocks were also mixed, with the Royal Bank of Scotland increasing by 1.05% and HSBC Holdings falling by 0.47%. Barclays was up by 0.367%, while Lloyds Banking declined by 0.09%.

In the euro zone, STADA led the gains on the Stoxx 600, jumping 14%. The increase came after news that the Cinven, a private equity group, offered to take over the generic drug maker in a deal worth 3.6 billion euros.

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