ISSN: 2056-3736 (Online Version) | 2056-3728 (Print Version)


European stock markets rose on Monday after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi hinted of potential easing measures next week, and on upbeat German consumer confidence news, while Atos SE was a top gainer over deal news.

Italian banks surged in the wake of European Parliament elections. Holidays will keep U.K. and U.S. markets closed on Monday, and are also expected keep trading volumes in Europe low.

The Stoxx Europe 600 index rose 0.4% to 342.96, after posting its sixth straight weekly rise on Friday. Markets were inspired by upbeat U.S. housing data that also pushed the S&P 500 (SPX) to close above 1,900 for the first time.

Atos jumped 3.8% after the French IT services company offered $844.44 million to buy rival Bull SE , whose shares soared 21%. Atos said it will launch a public tender offer at EUR4.9 euros a share in cash, a 22% premium to Bull’s closing price on Friday, The Wall Street Journal reported.

On the downside, shares of Getinge AB slid nearly 9% after the global medical technology company said it will postpone its capital markets day planned for May 27. The delay is due to recent communications with the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, the company said in a statement on Sunday, without providing details.

German stocks were among the best performers, with the DAX 30 index up 0.9% to 9,858.57, led by a 1.4% rise for Daimler AG and a 1.3% gain for BMW AG . GfK Institute’s forward-looking indicator is expected to be 8.5 in June, stabilizing at a high level and suggesting that German consumer sentiment has improved.

The euro (EURUSD) rose to $1.3643 from $1.3630 in North American trade late Friday after ECB’s Draghi said the central bank needs to be “particularly watchful” for a negative spiral between low inflation, falling inflation expectations and credit, particularly in stressed countries. The euro remains near 3-month lows, however, since hints of easing from the ECB in early May.

“There is a risk that disinflationary expectations take hold,” triggering a delay in purchases,” said Draghi, who was speaking at the ECB Forum near Lisbon on Monday. “We are not resigned to allowing inflation to remain too low for too long,” he said, the latest sign the ECB will take fresh easing measures when it meets next week.

Italian stocks were also seeing a strong performance, with the FTSE MIB index jumping 2.4% to 21,248.30, led by banks such as UniCredit SpA , up nearly 3% and Banca Popolare di Milano S.C.A.R.L. , up nearly 5%.

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s Democratic Party appeared to have fought off a challenge from comic Beppe Grillo. Renzi’s three-month old government is trying to push major reforms through to the Italian economy.

European Parliamentary elections held on Sunday revealed strong gains for anti-European Union and far-right parties. They won the biggest share of the vote in France, where a quarter of votes were cast for the far-right National Front, and also had a strong showing in the U.K., Greece and Denmark. Early results showed the U.K. Independence Party beating both Conservatives and Labour, which would be the first time such an election has not been one by either of those two parties since 1920, according to media reports.

In France, the CAC 40 index rose 0.3% to 4,508.72, while in Greece, the Athex Composite rose 0.8% to 1,180.30.

By Barbara Kollmeyer, MarketWatch