Europe equities mixed, Nikkei rises as yen falls

PARIS - After starting the day in negative territory, Europe’s main indexes were mixed around midday as investors cautiously contemplated a further fall in value for the Japanese yen — which sent the benchmark Nikkei index surging more than 2 per cent.

By Jamey Keaten (AP)

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Published: Tue 19 Feb 2013, 9:03 PM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 7:51 AM

Analysts predicted a subdued start to Europe’s trading week with voters in Italy and Cyprus to cast ballots next weekend and Wall Street’s closure for President’s Day. Traders also had to digest news from the weekend meeting of Group of 20 finance ministers, which avoided upbraiding the government of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for introducing measures that would have the knock-on effect of driving down the yen in a bid to help manufacturers.

Britain’s FTSE 100 fell 0.2 per cent to 6,318.65. Germany’s DAX climbed 0.2 per cent at 7,605. France’s CAC-40 lost 0.2 per cent to 3,653.

Germany’s central bank announced on Monday that Europe’s biggest economy was on track to avoid a recession as it shows signs of growth in the first three months of the year, reporting greater business optimism and easing fears of the eurozone debt crisis.

German industrial stocks were among the biggest risers on Monday, with automaker Daimler, Deutsche Telekom, and chemicals powerhouse BASF all rising about 1 per cent.

In France, Natixis shares soared more than 26 per cent to €3.58 after the financial services firm announced a restructuring and plans for a one-time €2 billion, or 65 euro cents a share, distribution to shareholders this year.

Earlier, many eyes in Asia were on Japan, where the Nikkei 225 index in Tokyo surged 2.1 per cent to close at 11,407.87. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.6 per cent to 5,063.40. South Korea’s Kospi was marginally higher at 1,981.91.

A lack of G-20 criticism for Abe’s economic policy appeared to give him a freer hand to pursue Japan’s efforts to jolt its manufacturing sector.

“The lack of specificity will mean that the G-20 statement will allow further unobstructed” yen weakness in the months ahead, Mitul Kotecha of Credit Agricole CIB said in a market commentary.

The dollar gained against the yen, after retreating earlier, trading up 0.44 per cent to 93.22 yen. The euro was up 0.34 per cent to 129.39 yen, and was unchanged against the dollar at $1.34.

Mainland Chinese shares were mixed after a weeklong break for Lunar New Year. The Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.5 per cent to 2,421.56. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.3 per cent to 23,381.94.

“Today there is some softening but not large selling pressure,” said Linus Yip, strategist at First Shanghai Securities in Hong Kong. “The US stock market will be closed, so maybe market sentiment may be a little more cautious.”

Last week, the yen fell to a near three-year low against the dollar and the euro. The yen has been declining since December.

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