German data leads Europe shares higher, dollar steadies

Mon May 4, 2015 6:32am EDT
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By Nigel Stephenson

LONDON (Reuters) - European shares rose on Monday, led higher by Germany after upbeat factory activity, while the dollar steadied following signs the U.S. economy may be emerging from a recent soft patch.

Euro zone powerhouse Germany's manufacturing sector lost some momentum in April but continued to expand while in France the sector's final PMI showed activity contracting and falling for a 12th successive month.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 equity index was up 0.4 percent, adding to earlier meager gains after the data.

Germany's DAX index rose 0.8 percent, outpacing France's CAC, which was up just 0.3 percent.

Christian Henke, a strategist with IG, said the German PMI data could be the catalyst for a rebound in the DAX after its recent correction.

"It's just a correction, nothing more," he said.

Factory activity in China, the world's second-largest economy, saw its fastest drop in a year in April as new orders shrank, according to HSBC/Markit Purchasing Managers' Index. It fell to 48.9 last month from 49.6 ion March.

However, Chinese shares closed higher as investors saw the data as hardening the case for fresh stimulus from Beijing.   Continued...

Pedestrians are reflected in the window of the Australian Securities Exchange next to a board displaying stock prices in central Sydney September 24, 2014.  REUTERS/David Gray