Stocks on the Continent are heading higher, with what appears to be strong readings on China's economy helping to offset the drag from Tuesday's profit-taking on Wall Street as traders paused for breath amid news that the US Secretary of State had gotten canned.
Thus, following an initial dip, as of 1030 GMT the benchmark Stoxx 600 was higher by 0.28% or 1.05 points at 376.54, alongside a 0.32% or 38.61 point advance on the Cac-40 to 12,256.63, while Spain's Ibex 35 is nudging up by 0.10% or 9.40 points to 9,701.10.

In parallel, euro/dollar was little changed, drifting lower by 0.13% to 1.2373.

Commenting on the US administration's decision to do without Rex Tillerson's services, Michael Hewson at CMC Markets UK said: “With two high profile departures in a matter of days it could be argued that the Trump administration has lost two of the grown-ups in the room when it comes to economic and foreign policy.

“[…] Only time will tell whether the new appointments are able to regain the confidence of investors, particularly at a time when relations between the US and the EU are under strain over the subject of tariffs.”

For his part, Ulrich Leuchtmann at Commerzbank waxed melancholic on what he termed the “chaotic” times of the Ronald Reagan years.

“Am I the last person to remember the chaotic times of the Reagan administration? For example Reagan's sound check when he announced bombing Russia as a joke? And the dollar? It appreciated and appreciated and appreciated,” he told clients.

Helping to offset the hit to sentiment from the latest news out of the States, were Wednesday morning's better-than-expected readings on Chinese industrial production and fixed asset investment.

Particularly notable was the pick-up seen in Chinese industrial activity, with output rising by 7.2% year-on-year over the first two months of 2018 (consensus: 6.2%), according to the National Bureau of Statistics, versus an increase of 6.2% in December.

That led Rohit Arora at UBS to tell clients: “Its fair to be worried about gradually compounding trade frictions, however, the gravity is also hard to defy. That's our simplistic take from today's stronger than expected China data, where the Jan-Feb IP positively surprised consensus by the largest margin since Feb-2010.”


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