European Equity Benchmarks Surge Higher

The broad-based major European indices closed sharply higher in Wednesday’s trading session, as banks, automotive stocks, and construction materials suppliers helped the markets surge as high as 2%.

In economic news, the inflation rate in Germany, as measured by the consumer price index, is expected to be 2.2% in February, according to the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) 2017. It was the highest rate of inflation since August 2012.

Destatis also reported that in January, roughly 43.6 million German residents were employed, an increase of 612,000, or 1.4%, compared with January of 2016. Approximately 1.8 million people were unemployed in January, 88,000 fewer than a year earlier. Employment fell by 333,000, or 0.8%, in January on the previous month.

In equities, construction equipment rental company Ashtead Group led the FTSE higher in London, rising 5.7%, followed by construction materials supplier CRH, which gained 4.9%. Mining companies Glencore International, Bhp Billiton, Rio Tinto, and Antofagasta climbed 4.9%, 4.3%, 3.3%, and 3.1% respectively. Meanwhile, banks Standard Chartered Barclays Royal Bank of Scotland Group HSBC Holdings were up 3.6%, 2.8%, 2.6%, and 2.5%.

In Frankfurt, Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank lifted the DAX into positive territory, rising 5.1% and 4%, while autoamkers Volkswagen, BMW, and Daimler climbed 3.4%, 2.9%, and 1.7% respectively. Semiconductor company Infineon Technologies, and building materials supplier HeidelbergCement increased 3.4% and 3.3%, while electricity supplier RWE closed 2.7% higher.

In Paris, banks and automotive stocks helped boost the CAC, as Societe Generale, BNP Paribas, and Credit Agricole climbed 4.9%, 4.5%, and 3.6% respectively. Automakers Renault and Peugeot rose 3.2% and 2.5%, while auto parts supplier Valeo moved up 2.6%. Steel and mining company ArcelorMittal led all gainers, closing 5.2% higher.

The FTSE gained 1.64%, the DAX climbed 1.97%, and the CAC-40 rose 2.1%.