European shares rose on Wednesday, lifted by gains in the mining sector on the back of stronger copper prices and signs of more Chinese economic stimulus measures.
In the last full trading session before the Christmas holiday break, the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index gained 1.6 per cent, while the euro zone’s blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index advanced 1.5 per cent.
Britain’s FTSE 100 index tacked on 1.3 per cent, while Germany’s DAX climbed 1.5 per cent.
London-listed mining stocks dominated the list of Europe’s top performing shares on stronger London copper prices, with Glencore and Anglo American both rising more than 4 per cent.
Investors are looking for more signs that Chinese stimulus measures are having a positive impact in the world’s top metals user, with some encouraging early signs of an improvement in spending on the state power grid and on housing.
Traders also cited a report from Chinese state news agency Xinhua that China would prioritise cutting the country’s excess steel capacity as giving a further lift to the mining sector.
“We think commodities are due for a bounce, and that should help mining stocks,’’ HED Capital managing director, Richard Edwards, said.
Nevertheless, in spite of Wednesday’s rally, the FTSE 350 Mining Index remains down by nearly 50 per cent since the start of 2015, due to concerns that growth in the Chinese economy may be slowing down.
Those concerns contributed to downward pressure on European stock markets from this year’s peak levels, although economic stimulus measures from the European Central Bank have prevented stock markets from losing too much ground.
The FTSEurofirst and Euro STOXX 50 are both up by about 4 per cent since the start of 2015, while the DAX is up by about 9 per cent.