Last Thursday several European countries observed Ascension Day, also often referred to as The Feast of the Ascension or Holy Thursday. Ascension Thursday is a Christian holiday that falls on the 40th day after Easter Sunday and commemorates Jesus Christ’s ascension into heaven. Although some European (equity) markets were closed for trade (Austria, Switzerland & all Scandinavian stock markets), Ascension day did not halt trading in most of the European equity markets with major European markets such as Germany, France, UK & Belgium open for regular trade and markets in the US & Asia trading as usual. Trading volumes were lower however throughout the European session due to the bank holidays in Germany, France and Belgium, leading to somewhat higher levels of volatility.
Last trading week European equity markets were dominated by increasing uncertainty around Italy’s political situation with Italian equities and bonds coming under heavy pressure as market participants took into account the high likelihood of new elections in the summer as the 2 largest Italian parties were unsuccessful in their attempts to form a stable government. However, while the Italian banking sector has indeed recently come under pressure the sector is already up more than 13% this year with Italy’s benchmark up more than 10%. Consequently, European investors decided to set aside political concerns and by the end of the trading week the Pan-European index even recorded its seventh straight week of gains, the longest weekly winning streak in more than three years.
The Ageas share eventually closed the trading week stable at EUR 44.60 in line with the SXIP 600 Insurance index.
This week, the investment community will again shift their focus to Ageas as Ageas will publish its 3M 2018 results on Wednesday May 16th and will also hold its Annual Ordinary and Extraordinary General Meetings of Shareholders.