LONDON, April 22 European shares inched higher
on Monday as signs of progress to break political stalemate in
Italy outweighed fresh downbeat earnings news and concern over
the health of the global economy.
Milan's FTSE MIB index, up 1.5 percent, proved the
regional outperformer for most of the day after the re-election
of Italy's president following broad agreement among various
political groups raised the prospect of an end to two months of
stalemate after an inconclusive election.
The FTSEurofirst 300 provisionally closed up 0.1
percent at 1,154.68 points, having dropped 2.4 percent last week
- its worst weekly loss since November - when lacklustre
corporate earnings and signs of slowing growth dented equities.
The index had spent much of the session strongly in positive
territory, at one point clawing back as much as 1 percent of
last week's declines.
But much of these gains evaporated in late trade after the
release of weaker than expected U.S. existing home sales data
and as Caterpillar Inc., the world's largest maker of
construction and mining equipment, cut its 2013 profit forecast.
While the broad backdrop remained cause for concern, strong
measures taken by central banks globally to ease monetary policy
persuaded some investors to keep an optimistic stance towards
"When we're in an environment globally which is providing so
much liquidity... it's very dangerous to bet against risk asset
prices trending higher," Exane BNP Paribas's head of equity
strategy, Ian Richards, said.