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European shares edge higher

October 18, 2022 00:00:00

European shares edged higher on Monday, buoyed by energy and utility companies, as investors awaited clarity on UK's fiscal plan and earnings reports for clues on corporate health amid jitters about higher interest rates and a potential recession, reports Reuters.

The region-wide STOXX 600 index was up 0.3 per cent, extending gains for a third straight session.

European equities have suffered losses in the recent weeks as investors fret about the prospects of a recession from aggressive central bank actions to tame inflation. UK's latest political turmoil only added to worries.

London's blue-chip FTSE 100 index gained 0.3 per cent ahead of new finance minister Jeremy Hunt's economic plans aimed at stemming a dramatic loss of confidence in Prime Minister Liz Truss's government.

"All the indications are that he (Hunt) is looking to make sure there's no unfunded spending," said Patrick Armstrong, chief investment officer at Plurimi Wealth.

"Hunt will be looking to put in place a plan that you've got both sides of the equation balanced, where any spending put in place is going to be increasing revenue through taxes and getting rid of tax cuts that were previously put in place."

Truss reversed elements of the tax cut plans on Friday, and fired Kwasi Kwarteng, replacing him with Hunt in a move to restore some calm in markets.

Euro zone government bond yields fell on Monday, taking cues from British gilts, but were still not far off their highest levels in more than 10 years.

Most STOXX 600 sectors were trading up, with energy stocks up 0.6 per cent as oil prices rose driven by hopes of better demand from China.

Among individual stocks, Credit Suisse was up 0.8 per cent. The bank has agreed to pay $495 million to settle a case brought against it in the United States.

Hargreaves Lansdown fell 6.7 per cent after saying its chief executive officer would step down, a day after the British investment platform was hit by a multi-million pound lawsuit.

Nel rose 7.3 per cent after the Norwegian hydrogen company received a NOK 600 million ($56.4 million) order from Woodside Energy for a US hydrogen project.

ITV jumped 7.9 per cent on a report that the British commercial broadcaster is exploring options for its production arm.

Mowi rose 3.4 per cent after the Norwegian salmon farmer's third-quarter profit came in above expectations.

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