European stocks higher; German Ifo rises, banking confidence improves

  • Stock Market News
European stocks higher; German Ifo rises, banking confidence improves

By Peter Nurse - European stock markets firmed Monday, rebounding after the sharp selloff at the end of last week as a degree of calm descended on the region’s banking sector after recent turmoil.

At 04:05 ET (08:05 GMT), the DAX index in Germany traded 0.7% higher, the CAC 40 in France climbed 0.6% and the FTSE 100 in the U.K. rose 0.6%.

The global banking sector greeted Monday’s news that First Citizens BancShares (NASDAQ: FCNCA ) had agreed to acquire Silicon Valley Bank’s deposits and loans with relief, adding to improved sentiment caused by European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde telling European Union leaders on Friday that the euro-area banking sector remains healthy.

Deutsche Bank (ETR: DBKGn ) stock rose over 2% Monday, bouncing from Friday’s sharp losses as the cost of protecting against a default on its bonds soared, while shares of UBS (SIX: UBSG ), which took over Swiss rival Credit Suisse (SIX: CSGN ) in a rescue deal last week, added 0.5%.

That said, the smaller regional banks in the U.S. remain under stress, as deposits at small banks fell by $120 billion in the week to March 15, while borrowing jumped $253 billion.

Bundesbank chief Joachim Nagel is due to speak later Monday ahead of Lagarde on Tuesday, while the German IFO business climate index improved in March to 93.3, from 91.1 the prior month, suggesting improving confidence levels in businesses in the largest economy in the Eurozone.

In other corporate news, Novartis (SIX: NOVN ) stock rose over 5% after the Swiss drugmaker received positive news from a trial of its Kisqali breast cancer drug.

Elsewhere, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Saturday that he will station tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, sending a warning to NATO over its military support for Ukraine and escalating a standoff with the West.

NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu called Putin’s comments "dangerous and irresponsible."

Oil stabilized Monday, hovering just above a 15-month low as traders look for fresh cues from the ongoing banking crisis, given the importance the banking sector plays in the global oil trade.

By 04:05 ET, U.S. crude futures traded 0.9% higher at $69.88 a barrel, while the Brent contract climbed 0.8% to $75.20. 

Both crude benchmarks gained around 3% last week, recovering after a near 13% slump the previous week, their biggest weekly declines in months, on fears the banking mess, coupled with aggressive Fed hikes, will lead to a U.S. recession.

Additionally, gold futures fell 0.6% to $1,990.20/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.1% higher at 1.0766.

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