It looks like your browser is not up to date.
This means our website may not look and work as you would expect. Read more about browsers and how to update them here.

Skip to main content
  • Register
  • Help
  • Contact us

Europe midday: Stocks hold gains ahead of UK budget

Wed 03 March 2021 11:28 | A A A

No recommendation

No news or research item is a personal recommendation to deal. Hargreaves Lansdown may not share ShareCast's (powered by Digital Look) views.

Market latest

FTSE 100 | FTSE 250 | Paris CAC 40 | Dow Jones | NASDAQ

7004.63 | Positive 56.64 (0.82%)
Graph

Prices delayed by at least 15 minutes

(Sharecast News) - European shares maintained gains at midday on Wednesday as investors eyed new budget measures from the UK to help power the post Covid-19 pandemic recovery and shrugged off a survey that suggested the eurozone was headed for a double-dip recession.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 index was up 0.43% with London's FTSE 100 outperforming the market, rising 0.93% at 1208 GMT.

Germany's DAX was 0.97% higher on reports the government was considering a loosening of coronavirus restrictions.

Investors appeared unperturbed by a survey indicating the eurozone economy was on course for a double-dip recession as the coronavirus pandemic takes its toll.

The IHS Markit composite purchasing managers' index - which measures activity in the manufacturing and services sectors - printed at 48.8 in February, up from the flash estimate of 48.1 and above January's reading of 47.8, but still below the 50.0 mark that separates contraction from expansion.

In London, Finance Minister Rishi Sunak was set to unveil his budgetary response to the pandemic, with most major announcements already widely leaked by his department, including a five-month extension of the furlough scheme. Focus remained on action to help house builders, travel, pubs and the retail sector.

"A lot has been pre-announced (leaked), but we still expect the rabbit out of the hat moment - perhaps not immediate tax hikes, perhaps direct stimulus cheques for all (this works better than furlough) but that would be too much to ask," said Neil Wilson, chief market analyst at Markets.com.

"Sunak will display a total lack of imagination, Eat Out to Help Out mark II, for instance, more furlough and measures to stoke house prices, or the housing market, whatever way you look at it. Housebuilders are higher again today - if there is no extension of the stamp duty holiday they would pull back."

In equity markets, travel & leisure stocks were the top performers, with British Airways and Iberia owner IAG, Premier Inn owner Whitbread, Cineworld and Wetherspoons all higher.

In equity news, Micro Focus shares surged 14% after the software company said it had signed a commercial agreement with Amazon Web Services.

Shares in UK insurer Hiscox Ltd plunged 11% as it swung to a huge loss for 2020 and continued to withhold its dividend.

Persimmon was also up after the housebuilder said forward sales were 15% higher than a year ago as it reported an 18% decline in annual profit. Rivals followed suit, with Taylor Wimpey and Barratt up, boosted also by expectations the chancellor will announce in his budget a mortgage guarantee scheme to help people with smaller deposits and possibly the extension of the stamp duty holiday.

    Daily market update emails

    • FTSE 100 riser and faller updates
    • Breaking market news, plus the latest share research, tips and broker comments

    Register now for free market updates

    The value of investments can go down in value as well as up, so you could get back less than you invest. It is therefore important that you understand the risks and commitments. This website is not personal advice based on your circumstances. So you can make informed decisions for yourself we aim to provide you with the best information, best service and best prices. If you are unsure about the suitability of an investment please contact us for advice.