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European stocks remained sharply higher on Monday, after the release of disappointing euro zone trade balance data, altough investors remained cautious ahead of the Federal Reserve’s upcoming policy statement this week.

Bloomberg Stock Market Observatory under pressure

During European afternoon trade, the EURO STOXX 50 gained 1.56%, France’s CAC 40 rallied 1.66%, while Germany’s DAX 30 jumped 1.36%.

Official data showed that the euro zone posted a smaller than forecast trade surplus of EUR16.1 billion in April. Exports fell by 0.8% from a month earlier, while rose by 0.5%.

Markets were jittery amid growing expectations that the Fed will to start taper off its bond purchasing program later this year.

Investors were looking ahead to the central bank’s rate statement on Wednesday amid uncertainty over the bank’s next move.

Financial stocks turned broadly higher, as shares in French lenders BNP Paribas and Societe Generale jumped 1.07% and 1.23%, while Germany’s Deutsche Bank rallied 1.60%.

Peripheral lenders added to gains, with Spanish banks Banco Santander and BBVA climbed 0.95% and 1.19% respectively, while Italy’s Intesa Sanpaolo and Unicredit surged 1.80% and 1.88%.

Elsewhere, Telefonica soared 2.95% following reports Spain blocked AT&T’s takeover bid for the company because Telefonica is “strategic” to Spain’s economy.

In London, FTSE 100 advanced 0.80% supported by gains in financial stocks.

U.K. lenders erased earlier losses, as Lloyds Banking climbed 0.44% and the Royal Bank of Scotland gained 0.47%, while Barclays added 0.16% and HSBC Holdings jumped 1.11%.

Meanwhile, mining stocks were mixed. BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto added 0.26% and 0.54% respectively, while Anglo American and Evraz dropped 0.51% and 0.79%.

Adding to losses, Imagination Technologies Group plunged 3.14% as Barclays cut the U.K. designer of chip technology for phones and tablets to “equal weight” from “overweight”.

In the U.S., equity markets pointed to a higher open. The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a 0.87% increase, S&P 500 futures signaled a 0.92% climb, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 1.05% jump.

Later in the day, the G8 group was to hold the first day of a two day summit in Northern Ireland.

 Source : Investing

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