StockBeat: Stoxx 600 Prepares for Another Run at 400

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By Geoffrey Smith — Europe’s stock markets were broadly higher after early trade on Friday after a strong manufacturing survey from China supported hopes that the worst of that country’s slowdown is over.

The moves largely corrected losses from earlier in the week and still weren’t enough to get markets like the U.K.’s or Spain’s over the gain line for the week, and few were willing to place large new bets ahead of the U.S. later in the day.

The report will be the first major hard data of the fourth quarter, following on from a mixed bunch of purchasing manager surveys from research firm IHSMarkit this week. Much of Friday’s gains in Europe were due to the big improvement in the IHS/Caixin in China, which showed its biggest improvement in two years. Reports from European markets were not as strong, with , the Netherlands, and all falling, and only and the surprising significantly to the upside.

Among sectors, chipmakers made solid gains on the back of Samsung’s forecast that the memory chip sector will revive strongly next year after a buffeting this year from the U.S.-China trade dispute.

STMicroelectronics NV (PA:) was up 1.6%, while ASML (AS:) and Infineon Technologies (DE:) were both up 1.3%. AMS (SIX:), more concerned with the outcome of its struggle for control of Osram Licht (DE:), was unchanged.

Elsewhere, Danske Bank (CSE:) was the standout underperformer after it lowered its full-year guidance under the impact of low interest rates and costs from its Russian money-laundering scandal.

Peugeot (PA:) and components maker Faurecia (PA:) both recovered, meanwhile, after Thursday’s steep declines in response to the terms of its agreed merger with Fiat Chrysler (MI:). Peugeot was up 1.9% while Faurecia was up 1.4%

By 5:30 AM ET (0930 GMT), the benchmark was up 0.4% at 398.50, set for yet another run at the 400 level if the employment report can give it fuel. The German was also up 0.4%, while led the way with a 1.3% gain.

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