Blue-chips power European stocks higher on rate cut hopes

By Thomson Reuters Apr 12, 2024 | 2:33 AM

(Reuters) – European shares opened higher on Friday, powered by gains in blue-chip stocks, as investors remained optimistic after the European Central Bank hinted that it could begin interest rate cuts as soon as June.

The pan-European STOXX 600 gained 0.9%, and was on track for a weekly gain of 0.4%, while the blue-chips index gained 1.1%.

The basic resources index led sectoral gains, with its 2% rise tracking an uptick in base metals prices.

Stocks in major regional economies, such as Germany, France, Spain and Italy, gained between 0.5% and 1.0%.

Among top movers, Varta slumped 32.6% to a record low and was on course for its worst day since September 2022 after the German battery maker said its restructuring plans would fail to make it profitable by 2026.

Elsewhere, the FTSE 100 gained 0.8% after data showed UK economic output grew for a second month in a row in February and January’s reading was revised higher.

(Reporting by Johann M Cherian and Ozan Ergenay; Editing by Savio D’Souza)