The Latest: European stocks close sharply higher, euro falls

AP News
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Posted: Feb 15, 2016 12:03 PM
The Latest: European stocks close sharply higher, euro falls

LONDON (AP) — The latest on the turmoil in global financial markets (all times local):

5:00 p.m.

European markets have closed higher after the head of the European Central Bank reiterated that more stimulus would be considered at the next policy meeting in March.

Britain's FTSE 100 closed 2 percent higher at 5,824.28 while Germany's DAX gained 2.7 percent to 9,206.84. France's CAC 40 rose 3 percent to close at 4,115.25.

The euro was down almost 1 percent after ECB chief Mario Draghi said Monday there were "a variety of instruments" the ECB could employ if it decided more is needed. It could pump more money into the economy or cuts rates further, something that would weigh on the value of the euro.

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11:55 a.m.

European stock markets are posting big gains, buoyed by euphoria from the Japanese trading session.

Among the main indexes, Germany's DAX is up 3 percent while the CAC-40 in France is 3.6 percent higher. The Stoxx 600 index of European shares is up 3.2 percent.

Though the gains follow a strong showing last Friday, few market watchers are willing to say that there's an underlying improvement in sentiment following weeks of turmoil that have sent many stock indexes into bear market territory.

Chris Beauchamp, senior market analyst at IG, says Monday's rise "gets filed as a brief flowering of bullish sentiment, rather than the start of something much more long-term."

Much may hinge on how U.S. markets perform when traders return to their desks Tuesday following the Presidents' Day holiday that will keep New York closed for the day.

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10:45 a.m.

Gold has lost some of its recent shine as stocks have piled on gains.

That's not an unusual development. Gold has surged in recent weeks as stock markets around the world have fallen sharply on concerns over the state of the global economy. Gold is widely considered the ultimate safe haven for investors to park their cash in times of volatility.

On Monday, as stocks surged, gold was down 2.4 percent at $1,209 an ounce.

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9:50 a.m.

Hopes that the fall in the Chinese currency may have run its course have helped stock markets around the world start the week on a positive note.

The main reason behind the volatility in financial markets this year has been uncertainty over the economic future of China, the world's number 2 economy. One of the triggers behind that uncertainty centered on China's currency, which has been weakening steadily over months.

People's Bank of China Governor Zhou Xiaochuan appears to be trying to ease that pressure. In an interview with the Caixin magazine published over the weekend, he said there was no basis for a further depreciation of the yuan. That's provided some relief to the country's exporting neighbors, who have worried about their competitiveness.

That relief was evident in the 7 percent spike in Japan's main stock market. Other markets in Asia bounced too, including the Hang Seng in Hong Kong, which ended the session 3.3 percent higher.

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9:00 a.m.

European stock markets are registering big gains at the start of the trading week, flying in the slipstream of a massive 7 percent increase in Japan's Nikkei index.

In early trading, all Europe's stock markets are trading sharply higher with the Stoxx 600 index up 2.9 percent at 321.30.

The buoyant tone in global stock markets was set earlier during Asian trading hours, when soft Japanese economic growth figures stoked talk of further stimulus by the country's economic authorities.

That weakened the Japanese yen to the likely relief of the country's exporters — the dollar is up 0.6 percent at 113.90 yen. The yen's weakness was one of the reasons why the Nikkei ended 7.2 percent higher at 16,022.58.

Markets have had a rocky start to the year as fears have grown over the state of the global economy.