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"The possibility that Italy's general election in March will open the door to a Eurosceptic coalition remains a concern, but any pain was limited to Italy Equity Funds which extended their longest outflow streak since 1Q17," writes Cameron Brandt, Research Director at US-based EPFR.

"Europe Equity Funds posted consecutive weekly inflows for the first time since late October, helped by the first retail commitments in nearly two months, as investors responded to some rosy forecasts for the region's economic growth and Eurozone business confidence at levels last seen in 2000," he adds in his latest weekly update.


"Our call is that the UK doesn't end 2018 so out of favour," he says, adding "ever more conciliatory" commentary around Brexit will support equities.

The index is also the biggest gainer among the European bourses year-to-date. After all, Italy is set to hold a general election on March 4 and its outcome is all but certain.

We've asked Alessandro Balsotti, head of asset management at JCI Capital.

Note also that despite the slump of Marks and Spencer and Tesco shares, the FTSE hit a new high. banks will push their advantage and continue to gain share due to stronger capital position and a lower tax rate improving internal returns," Macquarie analysts said in a note.


Good evening from us, here's your closing snapshot: (Julien Ponthus) ***** MACQUARIE FAVOURS U. BANKS OVER EUROPE (1547 GMT) The sector has come into focus with the Q4 results season just round the corner and bond yields on the rise. "As a result, we prefer US to European banks," Macquarie adds, singling out Bank of America , Goldman and Morgan Stanley.

"The longer the transition, the better for the UK." Meanwhile Credit Suisse is also sounding more optimistic on British stocks.


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