Europe Stocks Rise on BOJ Boost as Wild January Draws to a Close

European stocks rallied, trimming their worst January drop since 2008, after the Bank of Japan’s added stimulus stoked optimism of policy support for global growth.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose 2.2 percent at the close, after the BOJ announced a negative interest rate. In the U.S., a report showed slower economic growth last quarter, after Federal Reserve officials said this week they’ll watch how global financial developments affect the American outlook.

Equities have had a wild ride this year as China’s slowdown and an oil rout spurred anxiety about the global economy. After reaching a 15-month low last week, the Stoxx 600 got a boost from Mario Draghi’s comments that the European Central Bank may reconsider its policy stance in March. The benchmark has gained 1.2 percent this week, trimming its January losses to 6.4 percent.

Among other stocks moving on corporate news, Gamesa Corp Tecnologica SA surged 19 percent after a report that Siemens AG is exploring an acquisition of the company. Telefonica SA advanced 3.6 percent after saying it will offer employees early retirement in a plan that will save money in the long term.

Source : Bloomberg

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S&P 500 Futures Little Changed as Volatile 2015 Draws to a Close

U.S. stock-index futures were little changed, with the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index barely hanging on to its fourth consecutive annual gain.

S&P 500 E-mini contracts expiring in March added less than 0.1 percent to 2,055.5 at 10:43 a.m. in London. Declines in energy producers and Apple Inc. dragged the benchmark lower yesterday. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures gained 8 points to 17,517.

Markets are closed tomorrow for the New Year holiday. Volume has been thin all week, and the number of shares changing hands on U.S. exchanges yesterday was the lowest for a full session this year.

In the absence of the so-called Santa rally in December, the S&P 500 has struggled to hold on to gains this year, up only 0.2 percent through yesterday’s close. The measure has risen as much as 3.5 percent in 2015, and fallen 9.3 percent at its low in August. The VIX Index of volatility expectations more than tripled from a July low through a peak the following month. It’s up 7.2 percent this month.

Netflix Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. were the best performers in the S&P 500 this year, both more than doubling in value. Energy shares posted the biggest losses, with Chesapeake Energy Corp. and Consol Energy Corp. tumbling at least 77 percent.

Source: Bloomberg

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