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Europe Markets
European Stocks Rise
From the Wall Street Journal of Tue, 23 Dec 2014 10:16:06 EST

European stock markets rose Tuesday, propelled by gains in U.S. equities Monday and bolstered by a strong U.S. growth report.

The Stoxx Europe 600 index was trading up 0.51% at 343.72, reflecting similar gains across most of Europe’s main stock markets. The index is now down only 0.4% in December—a solid recovery given that it sank by over 6% in the first half of the month.

Buoyed by comments from the Federal Reserve last week that it would take a “patient” approach to raising interest rates, U.S. stocks rose for a fourth straight session Monday with the S&P 500 index closing at 2078.54. Tuesday, the U.S. Commerce Department reported that third-quarter gross domestic product rose at a seasonally adjusted annualized pace of 5.0%--well above its earlier estimate of 3.9%. That helped push up stocks in both the U.S. and Europe.

It was the first time U.S. GDP has clocked in above 4% for two consecutive quarters since 2003.

In contrast, Chinese stocks suffered their second worst day of the year overnight, with the Shanghai Composite Index plunging 3% to 3032.61.

Greece was the poorest performing market in Europe on Tuesday; stocks in Athens slumped 2% early in the session and remained down after the Greek parliament failed for the second time to elect a president.

A third vote is tentatively scheduled for Dec. 29, although this may yet prove unnecessary. Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has offered general elections by the end of 2015 in return for electing a consensus presidential candidate—a move that would avoid snap elections early next year.

The yield on 10-year Greek government bonds was 0.10 percentage point higher after the vote, but remained well below its recent peak this month.

Sterling fell following news that the U.K.’s current-account deficit had jumped to £27 billion ($35.9 billion) in the third quarter from £24 billion the previous quarter. The pound fell further against the dollar after the growth report and was down 0.55% against the dollar at 1.5496. The euro also traded lower, at $1.2173.

European government bond markets were largely flat in light trading ahead of the Christmas holiday.

Currency markets were again relatively sleepy with Japan closed and the holiday season fast approaching. The euro was slightly weaker against the Swiss franc at 1.2028. The Swiss National Bank surprised markets last week by cutting interest rates into negative territory to defend the floor of 1.20 euros to the franc it looks to maintain.

The ruble continued to make gains against the dollar, rising 1% to 55.35 to the dollar. Last week, the currency plummeted to 80 against the dollar despite the Central Bank of Russiaraising interest rates by 6.5 percentage points to 17%.

Brent crude oil prices were marginally up at $60.34 a barrel.

—Alkman Granitsas contributed to this article.

Write to Christopher Whittall at

Corrections & Amplifications

Sterling sold off following news that the U.K.’s current account deficit had jumped to £27 billion ($35.9 billion) in the third quarter from £24 billion the previous quarter. A previous version of this article quoted the second-quarter figure as £23 billion.

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