Energy and financial firms push Europe higher
On Monday U.K. shares climbed the most among western-European markets, while energy producers and financial firms led gains in the region’s stocks.
British exporters benefited from a weakening of the pound after Prime Minister Theresa May pledged to begin the process of exiting the European Union in the first quarter of 2017. That sent the FTSE 100 Index up 1.2 percent, set to reach its highest level since May of last year.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index added 0.2 percent at 11:55 a.m. in London, following a third weekly decline in four. With the German market closed for a holiday, trading of shares on the gauge was about 19 percent lower than the 30-day average.
Large companies included in the FTSE 100 were not the only ones rising. The FTSE 250 Index of midcap shares and a measure tracking smaller companies also advanced more than 0.9 percent. Adding to the optimism, a gauge of British manufacturing reached its highest level in more than two years in September as the weaker pound sent export orders surging. The FTSE 100 is now within 2 percent of the record it hit last year.
Output data for France, Italy and Spain also helped improve sentiment on Monday. A Citigroup Inc. index tracking economic surprises in the euro area turned positive last week for the first time since August, meaning that more reports are beating forecasts.
Asian stocks rose, with the regional benchmark index rebounding from a one week low, as worries over the health of European banks eased and casinos led a rally in Hong Kong shares. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 0.7 percent. Japan’s Topix index rose 0.6 percent as the yen traded at 101.41 against the U.S. dollar, weakening for a fifth straight session.