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By Peter Stevenson MEMBERS of Volunteer Doctors Cyprus have treated around 350 people at their free clinic in Nicosia since it opened three months ago, while two more, one in Paphos and one in Polis are due to open today. Limassol also has a free clinic, which was opened only last month, and plans have been drawn ...
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Cyprus Internet Directory [ Europe stocks rise on U.S. mortgage plan ]

Europe stocks rise on U.S. mortgage plan

Europe stocks rise on U.S. mortgage plan
February 13, 2009 - Reuters

European stocks were up 1.8 percent around midday on Friday, snapping a three-sessionlosing run, as Washington's plan to subsidise mortgage payments for troubled homeowners sparked a relief rally across the board.

Recently beaten-down shares of banks and insurers were among the top gainers, with BNP Paribas up 3.8 percent, Axa up 4.8 percent, Credit Suisse up 5.9 percent and Banco Santander up 2.1 percent.

Energy and mining shares also rallied, along with crude oil and metal prices. Total gained 1.8 percent and Xstrata rose 4.4 percent.

At 1145 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was up 1.8 percent at 806.07 points.

In spite of Friday's rise, however, the benchmark index, down 3.2 percent in the year-to-date, was on track to record a 2.5 percent loss on the week, during which the Obama administration unveiled a revamped rescue plan for the banking sector and the U.S. Congress reached a deal on a $789 billion stimulus package. On Thursday, sources told Reuters the Obama administration was hammering out a programme to subsidise mortgages, a possible new front in the fight to beat the credit crisis, triggering a rally on Wall Street.

"We're seeing the 'buy the rumour, sell the news' strategy. The market rallied on the suspense surrounding the Obama stimulus plan, then retreated after the banking rescue plan was unveiled," said Valerie Plagnol, chief strategist at CM-CIC Securities, in Paris.

"But it will take a while before these plans could have an impact, so the recent short bounces on the stock market might just be false starts."

Shares in steel maker ArcelorMittal rose 5 percent while German rival Thyssen Krupp, which reported quarterly earnings ahead of market expectations, gained 3.6 percent.

RANGE BOUND

Pernod Ricard surged 7 percent after the world's No. 2 drinks maker, whose brands include Absolut Vodka and Jameson whiskey, stuck to its target of boosting recurring net profit to over 1 billion euros ($1.28 billion) in fiscal 2008/09.

Air France-KLM gained 6 percent after the company said it was abandoning costly fuel price hedges.

Around Europe, UK's FTSE 100 index was up 0.9 percent, Germany's DAX index up 1.2 percent, and France's CAC 40 up 2 percent.

"We are in a trading range. After two weaker days the market goes up again. It's positive that there is no sustained downward pressure," said Giuseppe-Guido Amato, analyst at brokerage Lang & Schwarz in Duesseldorf.

Credit Suisse said in an equity research note it now expects European corporate operating earnings to fall by 34 percent over the next 12 months. Much of that, however, appears to be reflected in the share prices.

"Most measures show good, but not excellent, value for equities," Credit Suisse said.

Later in the day investors will get the next piece of economic data with the University of Michigan survey of U.S. consumer confidence due for release at 1455 GMT.

On Wall Street, futures for the S&P 500 were down 0.1 percent, Dow Jones futures were down 0.3 percent and Nasdaq 100 futures were up 0.3 percent.


(Source: Financial Mirror, http://www.financialmirror.com/News/Cyprus_and_World_News/14013)



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