(Sharecast News) – European shares were mixed in a tight range by midday on Tuesday as investors digested the latest reading on German investor sentiment.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 index was up 0.1%, while Germany’s DAX was down 0.3% and France’s CAC 40 was 0.1% lower.
Susannah Streeter, head of money and markets at Hargreaves Lansdown, pointed to an easing of properties woes in China.
“Debt-laden giant Country Garden has won creditor approval to extend payments on some bonds adding to a slightly more optimistic take on China’s economic prospects,” she said.
Closer to home, investors were mulling the latest ZEW survey, which showed that investor sentiment unexpectedly improved in September.
The ZEW investor expectations index rose to -11.4 from -12.3 in August, coming in comfortably above consensus expectations of -15.0. However, the current conditions index fell to -79.4 in September from -71.3 the month before. This was below expectations of -75.0 and marked a three-year low.
ZEW president Achim Wambach said: “The financial market experts assess the current economic situation in Germany even more pessimistically than in August 2023. This development puts into perspective the slightly increased expectations regarding the economic situation over the next six months.
“The more positive economic expectations for Germany are accompanied by a significantly more optimistic outlook regarding developments on the international stock markets. This is at least partly due to the fact that the proportion of respondents who expect stable interest rates in the euro area and the USA has continued to rise.
“In addition, the experts expect a further easing of interest rate policy in China.”
In other economic news, German wholesale prices fell for the fifth month in a row in August due to lower prices for mineral oil products, data from the federal statistics office showed.
Wholesale prices declined by 2.7% in August compared to the same month last year.
In the UK, figures from the Office for National Statistics showed wage growth remained at its highest level in 22 years in July, but the unemployment rate ticked higher.
Average regular earnings growth was unchanged at 7.8% in the three months to July, above consumer price inflation of 6.8%, while the unemployment rate nudged up to 4.3% from 4.2%.
Growth in average total pay – which includes bonuses – was 8.5% in July, up from 8.2%, as one-off payments to NHS workers and civil servants after deals to end strike action provided a boost.
The number of job vacancies in the three months to August was 989,000, down 64,000 from the previous quarter, the ONS said.
On the equities front, Smurfit Kappa shares tumbled after the company said it had agreed to merge with US rival WestRock in a deal that will create a $20bn packaging giant.