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


European shares bounced back on Wednesday, buoyed by a rise in U.S. stocks ahead of the Federal Reserve commentary, and by targeted economic stimulus measures in China. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed just short of yet another record on Tuesday, after Wall Street Journal chief economics correspondent Jon Hilsenrath said the Fed may continue to use the term “considerable time” to describe its expected plans to hike interest rates, but qualify them. U.S. stocks also traded higher on Wednesday.

In China, the central bank overnight announced that it is injecting 500 billion yuan ($81 billion) into the country’s five major state-owned banks as it moves to counter slower-than-expected growth, helping the Hang Seng to break eight straight days of losses.

In Europe, the Stoxx Europe 600 added 0.5% to close at 344.39 following two consecutive days of losses. Germany’s DAX 30 added 0.3% to 9,661.50, while France’s CAC 40 picked up 0.5% to 4,431.41.

London’s FTSE 100 closed 0.2% lower on the day at 6,780.90, with some volatility and tensions ahead of Thursday’s Scottish referendum. A survey by pollster Opinium for the Daily Telegraph newspaper released Tuesday found that 47% of those surveyed supported staying in the U.K. and 43% supported independence. The rest of the 1,156 Scots polled online were undecided or weren’t planning to vote.

Nonetheless, strategists and economists appear to remain acutely aware of the risks associated with either outcome and the economic uncertainty that would prevail, especially in the case of a split.

“In my opinion the political and economic ramifications will linger for a long time,” said Gary Jenkins, a credit strategist at LNG Capital.

“It is possible that the attraction of gilts diminish somewhat in the eyes of international investors. It is possible that inward investment reduces because of the increased probability of withdrawal from the European Union. Basically the politicians have managed to create a negative scenario for U.K. assets whatever the result of the referendum,” he added.

Sterling (GBPUSD) was able to recoup some of the losses seen in earlier days, rising 0.4% to $1.6326 against the U.S. dollar.

“Should the ‘No’ vote prevail, we would expect a bounce in the pound and for eurozone peripheral bonds to outperform,” says Riccardo Barbieri, chief European economist at Mizuho.

Sovereign bonds, particularly in Spain, have underperformed in recent weeks on suspicion that Scottish independence could set a precedent for other separatist movements, for example in Catalonia.