Europe Shares Inch Higher On Pharma

Resource firms and drug makers helped push European stock markets higher on Tuesday, as sentiment was inspired by gains in Asia following stimulus hopes for China, while pressure remained on Spain.

The Stoxx Europe 600 index (XX:SXXP) +0.50% jumped 0.8% to 244.45.

Posting one of the biggest gains in the index, steelmaker ArcelorMittal (FR:MT) +0.09% MT +0.07% added 3.2% after HSBC lifted the stock to overweight from neutral.

The gain helped push the French CAC 40 index (FR:PX1) +0.64% 0.7% higher to 3,064.46. The index was further buoyed by oil group Total SA (FR:FP) +0.90% TOT +0.30% taking on 1%, as oil prices climbed higher.

Drug maker Sanofi SA (FR:SAN) +1.00% also ticked higher, up 0.8%, following the trend in the broader pharmaceutical sector in Europe.

Swiss Novartis AG (CH:NOVN) +0.76% rose 0.8%, Market Watch reported.

Gains in Europe were inspired by a positive trading day in Asia, where the prospect for more stimulus measures to fuel growth in China cheered investors into taking on more risk. Reports said Monday that the National Development and Reform Commission in the country has approved construction of several new steel plants.

However, Spanish shares trailed the rest of Europe, as retail sales for April tumbled 9.8% on an annual basis. The IBEX 35 index (XX:IBEX) -1.40% was slightly lower at 6,400.40. Troubled lender Bankia SA (ES:BKIA) -5.22% gave up 5.5% after Exane BNP Paribas SA cut the stock’s price target 68% following a recapitalization of the bank. Spanish retail sales see steep decline

In London, miners moved higher, with Rio Tinto PLC (UK:RIO) +2.56% RIO -1.74% advancing 2.6%, Evraz PLC (UK:EVR) +1.77% taking on 3.1% and BHP Billiton PLC (UK:BLT) +1.72% BHP -1.58% up 1.9%.

The FTSE 100 index (UK:UKX) +0.47% traded 0.8% higher at 5,396.39, further lifted by gains for energy firms. BG Group PLC (UK:BG) +0.99% added 1.3% and Royal Dutch Shell PLC (UK:RDSA) +0.45% (UK:RDSB) +0.12% RDS.A -0.30% RDS.B 0.00% ticked 0.5% higher.

In Germany, car makers showed positive moves, helping push the DAX 30 index (DX:DAX) +0.86% 1.1% higher to 6,394.59. Volkswagen AG (DE:VOW) +0.88% took on 1.7%, BMW AG (DE:BMW) +2.20% added 1.9% and Daimler AG (DE:DAI) +1.83% was up 1.8%.

Drug maker Bayer AG (DE:BAYN) +1.35% traded 1.7% higher.