FCA-Renault deal hopes aid European shares

The logos of Renault and Fiat carmakers are seen in Nice, France, June 3, 2019. — Reuters pic
The logos of Renault and Fiat carmakers are seen in Nice, France, June 3, 2019. — Reuters pic

JUNE 10 — Strong Chinese export data and the US-Mexico deal to avoid new import tariffs bolstered the mood on European stock markets today, while car company shares also got a lift from signs of moves to revive Fiat-Chrysler and Renault’s merger.

The pan-regional STOXX 600 index rose 0.4 per cent by 0805 GMT, with trading volumes thinned out by the Whit Monday holiday in Germany, Switzerland, Austria and most Nordic countries.

The auto sector gained 0.5 per cent on signs that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV and Renault SA were looking for ways to resuscitate their collapsed merger plan and secure the approval of Nissan Motor Co.

Fiat Chrysler and Renault’s shares were both up about 2 per cent after sources close to the companies told Reuters they were back in discussions on ways to revive the deal.

“We believe it is too early to talk about negotiations being re-opened,” Equita analyst Emanuele Gallazzi wrote in a note.

“Today’s news together with the hypotheses discussed in various press sources relating to alternative scenarios for FCA, including GM, Hyundai and Geely, keep high the speculative appeal of the stock.”

President Donald Trump on Friday retreated on last month’s shock threat of a 5 per cent import tariff on all Mexican goods in exchange for moves on immigration, providing relief to investors worried that a second major US trade dispute would drive the global economy into recession.

“Markets are blowing small celebratory bubbles this morning,” Deutsche Bank analysts said in a note.

Trade tensions between the US and China still lingered, with Group of 20 finance leaders saying that trade and geopolitical tensions have raised risks to improving global growth while stopping short of calling for a resolution of the conflict.

Adding to gains was some residual buying after weak US nonfarm payrolls data on Friday that spurred hopes of the Federal Reserve cutting interest rates.

Concerns over the pace of growth in the world’s major economies drove a nearly 6 per cent fall in European stock markets in May, their worst month in more than two years, but have been countered since by hopes of new stimulus from central banks to head off the threat.

Among other stocks, BAE Systems gained 1 per cent on hopes of further deal making in the aerospace and defense space after United Technologies Corp agreed on Sunday to combine its aerospace business with US contractor Raytheon Co, in what would be the sector’s biggest ever merger.

Thomas Cook’s shares jumped 15 per cent after a report that Hong Kong’s Fosun Tourism was in talks to buy its tour operating business as the British group faces breakup after issuing three profit warnings in the past year.

Ferguson Plc fell 4 per cent after the British plumbing products distributor’s third quarter revenue missed analysts’ estimates. — Reuters

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