Stocks Climb as Optimism Surrounding Europe Returns


LONDON -- European equity markets are managing to squeeze out some gains for the most part Friday, making for a relatively positive end to the week as optimism surrounding the European Union's efforts to support flagging nations once again rises to the surface.

This follows a report in the Financial Times suggesting that European policymakers may be set to announce the terms of the Spanish bailout as early as next week, while at the same time an Italian government official said that Italy and Spain will not seek a bailout, thereby forcing themselves to adhere to the rules set on the aid, unless bond yields surge and leave them "shut out" of the market.

This strength is leading the peripheral countries to outperform today, with Spain's IBEX (INDEX: ^IBEX) up 1.4%.

As always, the following price moves are based on this morning's European trading.

With an increase in appetite for riskier assets today, the National Bank of Greece (NYS: NBG) is one of the leading financials, up almost 4%. This follows news last week that the country would appoint Greece's Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund to lease out 40 uninhabited islands for 50 years by 2020 in hopes of raising some 50 billion euros to help meet conditions tied to the 240 billion euros in foreign aid the country has received.

Meanwhile, Finnish handset maker Nokia (NYS: NOK) is down more than 3% today as optimism and speculation surrounding rival firm Apple's (NAS: AAPL) latest iPhone 5 reaches fever pitch. Nokia's latest Lumia handsets, which the company had hoped would help it make headway into the competitive smartphone market, now look set to suffer as some estimates of the latest iPhone sales could hit 10 million in the first day alone.

Nokia released its latest phones, the Lumia 920 and 820, one week before the iPhone debut in hopes of gaining an early-stage advantage. However, with the hype and press coverage of Apple's launch and the optimism of most analysts on the forthcoming iPhones sales, this effort by Nokia seems to have fallen short.

Elsewhere, Spanish medical supply and plasma derivative maker Grifols (NAS: GRFS) is once again posting strong gains, up more than 4% on the day and almost 10% on the week after it announced Monday that it will expand its North American business. Its U.S. subsidiary Biomat USA will purchase three plasma donation centers from Cangene for an undisclosed amount.

As always, this morning's European news saw some winners and losers -- and perhaps some European buying opportunities. Indeed, legendary investor Warren Buffett has recently spent more than $1 billion buying the stock of a prominent European large cap.

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Karl Loomes has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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