The broad-based major European indices closed higher in Thursday’s trading session, as utilities and telecommunications stocks buoy the markets.
In economic news, Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, reported that regional unemployment rates continued to vary widely across the EU regions in 2017, with the lowest rates recorded in Praha (1.7%) in the Czech Republic and Trier (2.0%) in Germany, followed by the Czech regions of Stredni Cechy and Jihozapad and the German regions of Niederbayern and Mittelfranken (all 2.1%).
At the other end of the scale, the highest unemployment rates were registered in Dytiki Makedonia (29.1%) in Greece, Ciudad Autonoma de Melilla (27.6%) in Spain, Dytiki Ellada in Greece and Extremadura in Spain (both 26.3%), Mayotte (25.9%), an overseas region of France and AndalucÃa (25.5%) in Spain.
In the UK, the Office for National Statistics ( ONS ) reported that London and the West Midlands had the strongest economic growth in real terms during the economic recovery from 2010 to 2016, while Northern Ireland and regions in the north of England have had the slowest growth. This contrasts with the decade prior to the economic downturn (1998 to 2007) when London and Northern Ireland had the highest growth and West Midlands the lowest.
In France, the outlook for housing starts for the next three months has improved slightly in April, according to the Institute for Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE), as the corresponding balance edged up after two quarters of sharp decline. The balance on housing starts for sale is stable above average, whereas housing starts for rent has picked up, while remaining below its long-term average. Meanwhile, more developers than in January have indicated a decrease in unsold dwelling stocks.
And in Germany, the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis), reported that the construction of a total of 49,400 dwellings was permitted in Germany between January and February. This is a decrease of 2.5% or 1,300 dwellings compared with the same period last year.
In equities, mining company Evraz led the FTSE higher in London, rising 6.6%, followed by investment company Melrose Industries, and water company United Utilities Group, which climbed 4.2% and 3.2% respectively. Consumer goods company British American Tobacco, and water services company Severn Trent each closed 3% higher, and consumer goods company Imperial Brands Group was up 2.8%, while telecommunications provider BT and online food ordering company Just Eat each closed 2.7% higher.
In Frankfurt, industrial gases company Linde led the DAX into positive territory, rising 3%, followed by kidney dialysis company Fresenius Medical Care, and automaker Volkswagen, each of which closed 2.7% higher. Stock market operator Deutsche Boerse, telecommunications provider Deutsche Telekom, and semiconductor company Infineon Technologies climbed 2.1%, 1.7%, and 1.6% respectively. Chemical and consumer goods company Henkel, and electricity and natural gas supplier E.ON each rose 1.4%, while software firm SAP, tire maker Continental, and automobile manufacturer BMW each closed 1.3% higher.
In Paris, aircraft engineering company Safran led the CAC higher, climbing 4.7%, followed by shopping market operator Carrefour, environmental management services provider Veolia Environnement, and IT and staffing firm Cap Gemini, which rose 3%, 2.2%, and 2.1% respectively. Commerical real estate firm Unibail Rodamco, and oilfield services firm TechnipFMC each gained 1.8%, while telecommunications company Orange was up 1.7%. Media company Vivendi, and oil company Total each closed 1.5% higher.
The FTSE gained 0.57%, the DAX rose 0.63%, and the CAC-40 moved up 0.74%.
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