European shares trade flat to lower with banks higher – IBEX continues to wobble

<p>Investors bought back into the main UK banks today, buoyed by the agreement reached over the weekend to hand Ireland an €85bn bailout. With several […]</p>

Investors bought back into the main UK banks today, buoyed by the agreement reached over the weekend to hand Ireland an €85bn bailout.

With several key UK banks maintaining large exposures to Ireland’s debt, the agreed bailout has helped to lighten the burden of uncertainty over the potential domino effect on banks should Ireland default on its debt. Therefore, the bailout is being seen as a short term positive for banks, helping to entice investors back into stocks such as Royal Bank of Scotland and Barclays after both banks suffered heavy falls of between 8%-10% last week.

However, there remains a large degree of uncertainty throughout Europe with investors refusing to buy into Spanish or Portuguese stocks fearing that these could be the next two states requiring a similar bailout solution to that of Ireland. In addition to this, nerves remain over the rising tensions in the Korean peninsula and undoubtedly the much headlined ‘Wikileaks’ publications of close ties between Iran and North Korea is maintaining a degree of political anxiety to trading sentiment.

Christmas rally or double top?
There is a general feeling that this week’s trading could be crucial in determining how stock markets finish the year. Having seen Indices across Europe consolidate around the 5% mark in the last few weeks, we are now at levels which, over the last six months, have attracted buyers. Should this trend continue and buyers start to re-emerge into the markets, it could set us up for a Christmas rally.

If the markets continue to correct however and the FTSE makes a consistent break below the 5600 level, we could confirm a double top has been reached and this will threaten a change in current trends.

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