The banking sector did very well on Thursday, with Lloyds and Societe General being stand outs. Chinese PMI data drove resource firms and UK PMI suggests that recovery is speeding up.
Aug. 02, 2013 - CHIYODA-KU, Japan -- The Stoxx Europe 600 index added nearly a percentage point, with banks as the best performing sector in the market. Lloyds Banking Group PLC gained 7.5% after its first profitable half year in three years. Shares of the bank are up 52% this year, surpassing the government´s break even point. The bank is also considering resuming paying dividends, for the first time in five years after the government bailout. Unfortunately financial regulators may require the bank to put side more capital to hedge against potential lending losses, which would postpone dividends. Lloyds posted 1.56 billion pounds in net income from the first two quarters this year versus a 697 million pound loss in the same period last year.
The third largest bank in France, Societe Generale SA´s net profits doubled to 955 million Euros in quarter two shattering forecasts of 608 million Euros.
Positive data from the official Chinese Purchasing Managers Index helped to drive mining and other resource firms. The index registered a surprising gain indicating expansion, which boosts resource firms because China is a major consumer of natural resources. Shares of Glencore Xstrata PLC and Anglo American PLC both rose more than 2% and the larger Rio Tinto PLC gained 1.7%. Not all resource firms preformed as well, Royal Dutch Shell PLC lost 5% after reporting a 60% drop in quarter two profits.
Markit/CIPS released its manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index for the UK, which rose to a two year high of 54.6 in July. Analysts as The Lexington Group believe that this along with other surveys indicate that momentum is growing in the UK economy and the Bank of England will reduce its stimulus policy in the second half of the year. The Bank of England announced Thursday, that they will not change the lending rate of 0.5% or their asset purchasing program. A meeting on forward guidance is scheduled for next week.
European Banks Perform Well While Data Indicates the UK