European Stocks Extend Gains to a Second Day

European stock markets rose for a second straight day on Wednesday, after a raft of upbeat U.S. data the day before spurred upbeat trading sentiment globally.

The Stoxx Europe 600 index XX:SXXP +1.38%  rose 0.4% to 280.87, building on a 1.5% gain from Tuesday.

Shares of Direct Line Insurance Group PLC UK:DLG +4.88%  climbed 3.6% after the U.K. firm announced plans to cut costs by 130 million pounds ($200 million) and cut about 2,000 jobs.

Spanish banks were also on the rise after Citigroup lifted the country’s banking sector to neutral. Bankinter SA ES:BKT +3.81% , which was upgraded to buy from sell, added 3.2%, and Banco Santander SA ES:SAN +2.85%   SAN +0.15% , which was lifted to neutral from sell, picked up 2.1%.

For the broader European stock markets, investors took inspiration from the U.S., where indexes rallied Tuesday on the back of data showing increases in durable-goods orders, new-home sales and consumer confidence. The gains came despite the looming prospect that the Federal Reserve may slow its bond purchases if the U.S. economy improves.

Most Asia markets also closed in positive territory, although China’s Shanghai Composite Index CN:SHCOMP -0.41%  dropped 0.4% as interbank money market rates remained at elevated levels. The rates, however, eased a bit on Wednesday.

In Germany, the DAX 30 index DX:DAX +1.35%  climbed 1% to 7,887.05. Data showed German consumers are optimistic about the summer with the GfK consumer-climate study forecasting a value of 6.8 points in July, up from 6.5 points in June.

Among other country-specific indexes, France’s CAC 40 index FR:PX1 +1.50%  put on 0.9% to 3,681.18.

Shares of Unibail-Rodamco SE FR:UL +2.55%  added 2.2% after UBS lifted the property-investment firm to buy from neutral.

The U.K.’s FTSE 100 index UK:UKX +0.98%  rose 0.5% to 6,131.87.

Source: Market Watch