Economy 3 MIN READ

European shares rebound as Italy eases stance on bank levy

August 9, 2023By Reuters

 – European shares hit a one-week high on Wednesday, with Italian lenders rebounding from previous session’s sharp losses after the government eased its stance on a new banking tax.

The pan-European STOXX 600 added 1.0%, with technology and bank leading gains.

Eurozone banks gained 1.9% after a 3.5% slump a day earlier, as Italy’s government announced late on Tuesday a cap on a windfall tax for the country’s lenders. It clarified that the 40% windfall tax would not amount to more than 0.1% of their total assets.

Italian lenders such as Intesa Sanpaolo ISP, Banco BPM and UniCredit added between 3.3% and 4.1%, while the banks-heavy FTSE MIB index rose 2.0%.

“We’ve had some watering down of the policy from yesterday and what it looks like is the impact should be less severe, but still a tax, nonetheless,” said Ankit Gheedia, head of equity and derivatives strategy at BNP Paribas.

Investors also appeared to shrug off data that showed China’s consumer sector fell into deflation and factory-gate prices extended declines in July.

“Economic data has already been weak and I wouldn’t say that there’s a lot of optimism baked into the market for a swift China recovery,” Gheedia said.

“If there is some policy announcement that supports growth in China, that should benefit Europe.”

The basic resources sector climbed 1.7% as copper prices advanced on a softer dollar and hope for stimulus measures from top metals consumer China.

The focus will shift to US inflation data due on Thursday, with investors looking to see if the Federal Reserve will pause its monetary tightening cycle this year.

Meanwhile, earnings for STOXX 600 companies are expected to have fallen 4.8% in the second quarter, according to Refinitiv IBES data, a clear improvement from the 8.2% drop estimated at the start of the earnings season.

Delivery Hero DHER.DE advanced 7.8% to the top of the STOXX 600 after the German online takeaway food company raised its full-year revenue outlook.

Dutch supermarket group Ahold Delhaize N.V fell 2.6%, with analysts pointing to weakening profitability in the United States even as the company raised its free cash flow forecast.

Flutter Entertainment FLTRF.I lost 5.8% after the world’s largest online betting firm posted a 76% jump in half-year core profit but warned of a weaker Australian market outlook.

(Reporting by Shashwat Chauhan and Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Varun H K and Eileen Soreng)

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