The Latest: Eurozone stocks rise on stimulus hopes

LONDON – The Latest on global financial markets (all times local):

12:15 p.m.

European stocks are higher after a soft survey of business activity across the 19-country eurozone bolstered the case for more central bank stimulus as soon as next month.

Financial information company Markit said its initial estimate of business activity — the so-called purchasing managers’ index — dropped to a 13-month low of 52.7 points in February from 53.6 in January. According to Markit, both manufacturing and the larger services sector recorded declines.

Analysts say the survey adds to the case for the European Central Bank to offer more monetary stimulus as its next meeting, on March 10. The central bank has said it would consider doing more, which could mean another interest rate cut or increasing the size or duration of its bond-buying stimulus program.

Germany’s DAX stock index was up 1.9 per cent, while France’s CAC 40 rose 1.8 per cent.


12:00 p.m.

The price of oil is rising despite a gloomy forecast by the International Energy Agency.

The U.S. benchmark for oil was up $1.19 at $32.94 a barrel in electronic trading in New York on Monday. The international benchmark, Brent, was $1.27 higher at $34.28 a barrel in London.

The IEA said Monday that it expects the price of oil to rebound more slowly than it had earlier predicted. It said a glut of oil is likely to keep prices from any significant recovery until next year.

The drop in the price of oil, which has been caused by high supply as well as weakening demand, has been unsettling stock markets in recent weeks.


9:40 a.m.

The pound is down sharply on concern that Britain’s popular vote on whether to leave the European Union could be closer than expected after senior politicians joined the “leave” campaign.

London Mayor Boris Johnson on Sunday said he would support the campaign in favour of leaving the 28-country bloc, arguing it would help restore power over national policies from Brussels.

Many investors and businesses are wary of such a move, however, as it creates uncertainty and could hurt the economy, at least in the short term. Economists say the U.K. largely benefits from the EU’s freedom of money and labour.

The pound was down 1.7 per cent at $1.4166 on Monday.