Europe close: Stocks rise as Barclays advances on strategic plan



LONDON (ShareCast) - - Barclays (LSE: BARC.L - news) shares rise, offsetting worse-than-expected Michelin (Paris: FR0000121261 - news) earnings
- Investors believe global stocks have further to go in 2013, survey says
- Cyprus bailout proposal to be handled by G20
- Standard & Poor's sees Ireland (OTC BB: IRLD - news) 's economy returning to'stable'

FTSE-100: 0.85%
Dax (Xetra: ^GDAXI - news) -30: 0.31%
Cac-40: 0.93%
FTSE Mibtel 30: 0.72%
Ibex 35: 1.92%
Stoxx 600: 0.43%

European equities surged Tuesday as the market reacted positively to Barclays' annual results and job-cut plans.

Shares in the banking giant were up 9.10% to 328.95p before the close after the bank released details of its highly-anticipated strategic review and reported 2012 adjusted profits before tax of £7.05bn, up 26%.

The bank announced it was slashing 3,700 jobs from its 140,000-strong workforce as part of a massive shake-up.

Under pressure to trim its securities unit, the bank also paid investment bankers an average bonus of £54,100.

Antony Jenkins said the company would focus its energy on becoming the "Go-To" bank but had long way to go following a scandal over LIBOR rigging and mis-selling of payment protection insurance.

The surge in the company's stocks offset results from Michelin which tumbled 4.26% to €69.60 by 16:00 after posting an operating profit of €2.42bn, slightly missing market forecasts.

The world's second largest tyremaker warned that sales and earnings would not grow this year due to the recession.

As a whole, investors believe global stocks have further to go following a strong rally seen across markets so far this year, according to a new survey.

Results from the Bank of America (BofA) Merrill Lynch Fund Manager Survey for February showed that investors continue to perceive value in equities in 2013, with a net 13% of those asked saying that stocks are still undervalued.

"The continued high level of optimism is a concern and markets may be vulnerable to bad news, but valuation support suggests any correction should be short and shallow, and our core 'Great Rotation' theme remains in play," said Michael Hartnett, the chief investment strategist at BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research.

Focus turns to Cyprus and Ireland economies

Eurozone finance ministers have refrained from taking action on the strength of the euro and the Cyprus bailout after discussing the issues at a meeting Monday.

The debate on the single currency continued and was finally left for the G20 to address.

Ministers also indicated they were waiting on a Troika report - from representatives of the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank - to move forward on financial assistance for Cyprus.

Another of Europe's troubled economies, Ireland, was looking up as credit ratings agency Standard & Poor's (S&P) changed its outlook on the country from 'negative' to 'stable'.

The agency expects the exchange of promissory notes for longer term government bonds will significantly reduce the Irish government's debt-servicing costs and refinancing risk, and will support medium-term fiscal consolidation.

Though improvement of the government's debt-maturity profile, S&P said it increases the prospects of Ireland leaving the European Union-International Monetary Fund bailout programme as planned at the end of the year.

Other asset classes surge

The euro edged up by 0.39% to the 1.3458 dollar mark.

Front month Brent crude futures rose by 0.161 dollars to the 118.320 dollar level on the ICE.


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