2:30 PM Frankfurt – European markets advanced as leaders meet for a two day summit and finance ministers are set to begin meeting tomorrow. Swiss central bank reaffirmed its commitment to defend peg with the euro and left its growth estimate for the current year unrevised.
European markets resumed their advance as leaders begin a 2-day summit in Brussels and leaders are expected to discuss high unemployment in southern Europe and possible ways to loosen some austerity measures.
Finance ministers are expected to begin their meeting tomorrow and are expected to make headway to finalizing the aid to Cyprus.
In London trading, FTSE 100 index increased 0.4% or 24.4 to 6,506 and in Frankfurt DAX index added 1% or 81.5 to 8,052.
In Paris trading, CAC 40 increased 0.8% or 31.1 to 3,867 and in Milan the benchmark index MIB 30 soared 1.8% to 16,030.
Swiss National Bank reaffirmed its commitment to defend its franc cap in its quarterly monetary assessment today.
The central bank placed a cap of 1.20 to a euro in September 2011 after investors pushed franc close to parity with the euro.
The central bank also left its economic growth target for the current year between 1% and 1.5% as estimated in December.
The central bank also estimated prices to decline 0.2% this year and rise to 0.2% in 2014 compared to its December estimate of a fall of 0.1% and 0.4% in 2014.
Separately, Greece and troika of international lenders will resume their meetings in April after lenders demanded more investigation on spending and elimination of government jobs.
In a statement issued by troika - the European Union, International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank – said “additional work will be necessary to settle few remaining issues” and mission “will take a short break to allow” this work to be completed.
Stocks in Review
Aggreko Plc increased 5% to 1,928 pence after the supplier of power generating sets won a contract in Namibia and Mozambique worth totaling $200 million.
Generali gained 7% to 13.80 euros after fourth quarter operating profit increased 12% from a year ago to 928 million euros primarily on non-life insurance products.
Deutsche Lufthansa increased 3% to 15.95 euros and the airline said it agreed to renew lease on short haul fleet of 100 fuel efficient aircrafts made by Airbus.
The parent of Airbus, EADS increased 0.5% to 42 euros.
HeidelbergCement increased 4% to 56.82 euros, the highest price in 4-1/2 year after the cement maker said improved earnings helped to decline debt more than expected.
K+S AG increased 4% to 37.34 euros after the largest agro-chemicals makers in Europe estimated higher earnings and revenues this year.
OC Oerlikon Corp declined 4% to Sfr12.10 after the largest maker of textile machinery abruptly replaced chief executive and did not give any reason.
William Morrison Supermarkets Plc increased 1.2% to 274 pence and Internet retailer Ocado Group Plc soared 15% to 162 pence and the two companies are in talks to discuss a possible technology licensing deal.