European Stocks Gain, Oil Tests One-Month Highs as Risk Sentiment Recovers

Frankfurt (May 19)  European stocks rose firmly higher in the opening hour of trading Friday as global financial markets attempted to claw back losses from a volatile week of trading sparked by an escalating political maelstrom that threatens to engulf the White House.

The region-wide Stoxx Europe 600 index, the broadest measure of share prices, was marked 0.4% higher at 390.72 points by 09:00 BST, with both financial and industrial stocks leading the advance. Switzerland's blue-chip SMI was the leading national benchmark, rising 0.66%, while Britain's FTSE 100 added 0.4% despite a stronger pound, which traded 0.33% higher against the U.S. dollar at 1.2983.

Hikma Pharmaceuticals plc (HKMPY) shares were an early mover of note, falling more than 5% to a year-to-date low of 1,616 pence each after the generic drugmaker lowered its full year revenue guidance Friday after the U.S. Food & Drug Administration expressed concern over its generic Advair Diskus product.

Markets in Asia were largely unchanged from their previous close, with investors gingerly returning to equities following the global market selloff. The region-wide MSCI Asia ex-Japan index was marked 0.01% higher by 09:00 BST while Japan's Nikkei 225 ended the session 0.2% higher at 19,590.76 points as the yen weakened against a resurgent U.S. dollar.

Stronger manufacturing activity data from the U.S. Thursday, in the form of the Philadelphia Federal Reserve's regional business survey, allowed investors to add long positions in the greenback, which has fallen more than 1.4% this week in the wake of President Donald Trump's decision to fire his FBI Director, James Comey, and revelations that his campaign team may have had extensive contacts with Russian officials - despite his repeated denials - in the run up to last year's elections.

Source: TheStreet