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European stocks gained, with the Stoxx Europe 600 Index heading for its biggest weekly advance in five weeks, as investors watched the expiry of derivative contracts. U.S. stock-index futures and Asian shares also rose.
The Stoxx 600 rose 0.4 percent to 328.92 at 10:26 a.m. in London. The index has added 2.1 percent this week, for a 0.2 percent gain this year, as President Vladimir Putin said he wasn’t seeking to split up Ukraine after Crimea voted to join Russia.
“The market has proven to be very resilient and we think it will trade within this range in the next few months,” Supriya Menon, a strategist at Pictet Asset Management, said by phone from London. “We did turn more cautious on Europe at the end of February because so much is already priced into valuations. You have to be much more tactical now with your entry points to take advantage of any dips in the market.”
Trading may be more volatile today and volumes might be greater as futures and options contracts expire in a process known as witching. The VStoxx Index, which measures expected Euro Stoxx 50 Index volatility using options prices, has fallen 24 percent this week, for its largest weekly drop in 14 months.
Consumer confidence in the euro area improved this month, economists predicted before a report at 3 p.m. GMT. An advance reading will probably show the European Commission’s index of household confidence increased in March to minus 12.3 from minus 12.7 in February, according to the median of estimates.
Commerzbank climbed 3 percent to 13.40 euros. Morgan Stanley raised Germany’s second-largest lender to overweight, similar to buy, from equal weight. Analysts Hubert Lam and Francesca Tondi said non-core assets are undervalued and the likelihood of another capital increase has decreased.
Meggitt increased 1.7 percent to 477.6 pence. UBS upgraded its rating to buy from neutral, with analyst Charles Armitage citing the stock’s value relative to the FTSE 100 Index. The aerospace and defense engineering company lost 11 percent this year through yesterday, compared with a 3.1 percent retreat for the U.K. equity benchmark in the same period. Meggitt traded at 12.4 times projected earnings as of yesterday’s close, below the average of 13.1 for the gauge.
Havas slipped 1.6 percent to 5.71 euros. The French advertising agency partly-owned by billionaire Vincent Bollore said net income rose to 128 million euros ($176 million). That missed the 133 million-euro average analyst estimate.
Crest Nicholson Holdings Plc (CRST) declined 4.5 percent to 382 pence. Deutsche Bank AG is selling as many as 16.5 million shares in the U.K. housebuilder, according to a term sheet. The German lender is its largest publicly disclosed shareholder, holding a 10 percent stake.
At the current moment
FTSE 100 6,567.86 +25.42 +0.39%
CAC 40 4,342.01 +14.10 +0.33%
DAX 9,338.95 +42.83 +0.46%
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