European equity benchmarks were in positive trading territory on Wednesday as climbing oil prices provided a fillip to commodities stocks and car-makers edged forward.
Traders were also looking ahead to testimony due to be delivered by Federal Reserve chairwoman Janet Yellen before Congress later in the day. Her comments are likely to be scoured for any clues as to whether the central bank intends to make more interest rate hikes this year.
Oil prices were advancing after reports that the American Petroleum Institute (API) had projected an 8.1 million barrel decline in US inventories of oil last week. Official data, from the Energy Information Administration, is due to be released later in the day. West Texas Intermediate crude oil, the main US oil benchmark, was 2% higher at $45.94 per barrel while Brent crude, the international gauge, was up by 1.7% at $48.34 per barrel.
In equities, clothing store Burberry was 2.9% higher on London’s FTSE 100 Index after posting 3% underlying retail revenue growth year-on-year in its first quarter trading update, followed by copper miner Antofagasta, up by 2.5% and oil and gas production company Royal Dutch Shell – B Shares and Royal Dutch Shell – A Shares, up by 1.5% and 1.4%, respectively.
On Frankfurt’s DAX, semiconductor company Infineon was 1.6% higher, athletic apparel major adidas, up by the same amount and RWE, a supplier of electricity and natural gas, was 1.4% higher. BMW, an automobile manufacturer, was up by 1.5%. And, on Paris’ CAC-40, Valeo, an automotive supplier, was up by 2.5%, Michelin (Compagnie Generale d’Etablissements Michelin SCPA), a manufacturer of tires, was up by 1.6% and Safran, a producer of aircraft and rocket engines, was 1.1% higher. Bouygues, which operates in telecommunications, media and construction, was up by 1.2%.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 Index was 0.51% higher, London’s FTSE 100 Index was up by 0.71%, Frankfurt’s DAX was up by 0.41% and Paris’ CAC-40 was 0.64% higher at the time of writing.
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