Strong results push Europe higher
On Thursday the dollar fell and stocks rose as strong corporate results in Europe helped offset investor nerves ahead of the looming start to French elections.
European Central Bank officials signaled that they’re getting close to the point when they’ll start preparing for the end of an era of unprecedented stimulus.
In the last round of speeches before a week-long quiet period ahead of the next policy meeting, Executive Board members Benoit Coeure and Peter Praet agreed that the euro-area recovery has become broad-based, while diverging on whether the risks to that outlook are still skewed to the downside.
The 25-member Governing Council will debate the precise formulation of its stance on the economy when it decides on interest rates and stimulus settings on April 27. But with a potentially explosive election in France coming this weekend, that may still prove too soon for any change in its currently ultra-cautious tone.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index advanced 0.2 percent at 10:16 a.m. in London. S&P 500 futures rose 0.3 percent. The underlying gauge slid 0.2 percent on Wednesday.
Investors are facing a stern test of nerves as a series of elections in Europe and tensions around North Korea and Syria ratchet up market risks. U.S. President Donald Trump’s travails trying to implement his fiscal agenda are also clouding the growth picture, while the Federal Reserve’s plan for monetary tightening looks increasingly unsure.
Japan’s Topix index added 0.1 percent. The Shanghai Composite was little changed, after four days of losses brought it to the lowest level since the 8 February.
West Texas Intermediate oil increased 0.9 percent to $50.87 a barrel, after tumbling 3.8 percent Wednesday when a report showed U.S. gasoline supplies increased for the first time since February, while crude output keeps rising. Gold fell 0.1 percent to $1,278.79 an ounce.