World Economy

European Shares at 7-Week High, Asia Rises

European Shares at 7-Week High, Asia RisesEuropean Shares at 7-Week High, Asia Rises

European shares edged higher to set a fresh seven-week peak on Friday, with the market underpinned by stronger energy companies and companies such as A.P. Moller-Maersk which rose sharply on earnings updates.

Shares in Maersk rose 4.9%, the top gainer in the pan-European STOXX 600 index, after the Danish shipping and oil giant kept its 2016 profit forecast despite reporting net profits below expectations, Reuters reported.

Energy shares tracked higher crude oil prices, with the European Oil and Gas index rising 1%, the top sectoral gainer. Shares in Tullow Oil, BP and Royal Dutch Shell rose 1.1 to 4.4%.

The STOXX Europe 600 index was up 0.1% after hitting a seven-week high earlier in the session, recouping all of its post-Brexit losses. The FTSEurofirst 300 index was also up 0.1%.

Property investment growth continued to slow, retail sales grew less than expected and growth in fixed-asset investment slipped to its lowest level in more than 16 years in the latest sign than an economic recovery is losing momentum at the start of the third quarter.

 In Asia

Asian stocks inched up on Friday, after a surge in oil prices helped propel Wall Street to record highs, while mainland shares held on to gains on hopes that weaker-than-expected Chinese economic data would spur policy easing.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan nudged up 0.2%. It was on track to advance 2% this week.

Chinese shares extended gains after fixed asset investment, retail sales and industrial output all rose but were below expectations. The CSI300 index rose 1.3%, heading for gains of almost 2.2% this week, while the Shanghai Composite climbed 1%, poised to end the week 1.9% higher.

China’s fixed asset investment from January to July increased by 8.1% from a year earlier, the slowest rate in more than 16 years, compared with expectations for 8.8%.

July retail sales rose 10.2%, versus 10.6% the previous month and a forecast 10.5%. Industrial output climbed 6% from a year earlier, slowing from June’s 6.2% and just missing forecasts of 6.1%.

Hong Kong shares rose 0.9% to their highest level in more than eight months, up 2.8% this week.

Japan’s Nikkei closed up 1.1% on a slightly weaker yen, ending the week 4.1% higher. Australian stocks ended the day 0.4% higher.