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Market Update

Sixth-Quarterly Decline in Europe Zone Economies, BoE Lifts Outlook

Author: Nigel Thomas
Last Update: 11:43 AM ET May 15 2013

4:30 PM Frankfurt – Market indexes in Europe closed higher and the euro zone economies shrank for the six quarter in a row. Germany barely grew and France dipped to a recession and the economies of Spain and Italy shrank 0.5% in the March quarter. Bank of England lifted economic growth outlook.

In London trading, FTSE 100 index increased 0.1% to 6,696, in Frankfurt the DAX index added 0.2% to 8,356; and in Paris the CAC 40 index rebounded 0.3% to 3,977.

The economies of the euro zone and the wider 27-nation European Union shrank for the second quarter in a row, and the region is expected to struggle for the rest of the year.

The statistics agency of the euro zone, eurostat, said today the economies of the euro zone contracted 0.2% in the first quarter to March after shrinking at 0.6% in the December quarter.

The euro zone economy shrank for the six quarter in a row.

Germany barely grew with an expansion of 0.1% and after shrinking 0.7% and the contraction in France met the last quarter shrinkage of 0.2%. Spain and Italy shrank 0.5% and data on Greece were not available.

The economy across the EU 27 nations shrank 0.1% and the UK economy, which is not part of the euro zone, increased 0.3%.

Separately, the Bank of England lifted the outlook for the island nation and said a recovery appears to be in the early stage.

Mervyn King, head of Bank of England, in his last scheduled news conference said the UK economy could expand at a 0.5% this quarter after growing at 0.3% in the previous quarter ending in March.

The central bank also estimated inflation to peak this summer at 3.1%, though above the target range established.

Separately, the unemployment rate in the UK at the end of March quarter increased to 7.8% after 15,000 more people were looking for work totaling 2.52 million.

Stocks in Review

London Stock Exchange Group Plc soared 6.3% to 1,419 pence after the UK based exchange said revenue in the year ending in March jumped 7% to £726.4 million. Operating profit for the period fell 3% to £348.4 million compared to £358.5 million and basic earnings per share declined 58% to 80.4 pence from 193.6 pence.

LSE added adjusted operating profit slid 3% to £430.2 million and adjusted profit before tax dropped 5% to £380.7 million.

Severn Trent Plc slid 0.4 to 2,069 pence after the waste water treatment provider rejected a unsolicited bid of £5.3 billion received from a consortium of Canada''s Borealis, the Kuwait Investment Authority and Universities Superannuation Scheme.

The company concluded the bid “completely fails to recognize existing and potential value of Severn Trent.”

ThyssenKrupp AG fell 0.9% to €14.16 after the Germany based steel producer reported net sales in the first-half slipped 9.3% to €17.94 billion. Net loss in the period narrowed to €822 million compared to €1.07 billion and diluted earnings per share declined €1.21 from €2.03.

The company added quarterly group sales from continuing operations slumped €9.10 billion compared to €10.19 billion and orders intake for the period dropped to €9.67 billion from €11.09 billion.

The steel maker expects sales in the second half to increase from the first half and full-year sales will be fall from a year earlier period.

TUI AG gained 3.7% to €9.38 after the Germany based travel group said it plans to generate operating profit of €1 billion by 2015.

Sources: Data collected by 123jump.com and Ticker.com from company press releases, filings and corporate websites. Market data: BATS Exchange. Inc