LONDON -- Equities have been seeing some mild positivity in Europe this morning, with benchmark indexes managing to hold on to gains after suggestions that China will add to its economic stimulus. Eurozone peripheries saw an added boost after Italy successfully auctioned 9 billion euros in short-term paper this morning, with the Spanish IBEX (INDEX: ^IBEX) leading the majors, up around 0.7%.
That said, moves have still been relatively subdued as lingering uncertainty about the eurozone sovereign-debt crisis weakens resolve to take any strong positions ahead of this week's EU summit. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is due to meet French President Francois Hollande later today, with markets once again looking for comments from the pair after reports yesterday that Mrs. Merkel said there would be no jointly backed eurozone bonds in her lifetime.
Banking and financial stocks have been supportive for the most part in European trade, helped by some positive results from the sector in London and recovering a little ground as bargain hunters continue to take advantage of low prices following the recent sell-off. The Dutch financial advisor ING Groep (NYS: ING) has been one of the best performers in the sector, up around 1.8% in Amsterdam.
Italian insurer and asset manager Mediolanum (OTC: MDLAY) has also been making good headway in Europe, climbing 2.7% after the Italian industry association Assogestioni said yesterday that the country's funds have registered a less-than-expected outflow of 1.2 million euros in May. Improved capital flows would suggest that the company may see better-than-expected revenues from fees and commission. However, it is worth noting that although this number may be better than expected, it is still a considerable outflow.
On a more negative note, Germany's Fresenius SE (NYS: FMS) has been seeing some of the most significant losses in Europe this morning, down more than 3% after Turkey's antitrust board announced the company is seeking clearance to buy the whole of Ren-Med Diyaliz & Saglik AS, a Turkish dialysis treatment center owned by Ren-Med Group, although the board did not disclose the proposed price.
In Paris, the advertising agency Publicis Groupe (OTC: PUBGY) dropped significantly at the open after the company's CEO said that advertisers in China, which have so far been helping to offset the group's losses from falling European trade, will not be increasing their budgets from last year's levels. Shares have since managed to par these initial losses, however, and eyes are now turning to the U.S. open for dissemination of the news.
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