European stock markets surged on Thursday as Britons went to the polls to vote on whether to remain in the European Union.
Shares opened higher and built on gains after polls and betting odds pointed to a "remain" victory. Betfair recently put the probability of a "remain" victory at 84%.
FTSE 100 was recently up 1.46% at 6,350.62, buoyed by miners including Glencore and Anglo American. The Dax climbed 1.92% to 10,264.36 and the Cac 40 jumped 1.97% to 4,466.20.
Earlier today a poll conducted by ComRes for the Daily Mail and broadcaster ITV gave "remain" an eight percentage point lead over "leave," while a YouGov poll put status quo advocates two percentage points ahead. The poll stations close at 10 p.m. London time -- 5 p.m. in New York -- with a clear indication of which way the voting is going likely to emerge from about 11 p.m. New York time.
The pound was recently up 1.17% against the dollar at $1.4879, just short of a six-month high it hit earlier. Gold was down 0.09% at $1,265.03 an ounce.
Leading British food retailer Tesco was recently up almost 3% after announcing first-quarter same-store sales growth in its core U.K. market of 0.3%, with group same-store sales up 0.9%. The U.K. increase was consensus expectations, though the rises marked a slowdown from increases of 0.9% and 1.6%, respectively, in the fourth quarter, when Tesco returned to growth. It also said it would sell a coffee bar chain.
Corrugated packaging maker DS Smith was more than 7% after announcing a full-year pretax profit of GBP332 million ($490.4 million) that Jefferies analysts said beat consensus expectations by 3%. The analysts, who have a hold recommendation on the stock, predicted consensus forecasts for 2017 profit will rise by 5% in the wake of the full-year figures. DS Smith predicted 3% growth in organic sales volumes in the current year.
In Paris, Rothschild was up 13.% after announcing strong full-year growth in its corporate finance advisory business late on Wednesday and plans for U.S. expansion.
Markit preliminary purchasing managers' indices for June revealed an unexpected softening in the eurozone gauges for the manufacturing and services sectors, as well as the composite index. And two out of the three German PMI indices also fell from May and came in below forecasts. All indices held above the 50 divider between expansion and contraction.
The eurozone composite index fell to 52.8 from 53.1, rounding off the worst quarter since the fourth quarter of 2014.
Markit's chief economist, Chris Williamson, said, "June's flash PMI survey data from Markit point to steady though disappointingly lacklustre Eurozone economic growth. Rising political uncertainty appears to have caused the pace of expansion to weaken slightly and business confidence about the outlook to deteriorate."
"The second quarter is therefore likely to see economic growth slacken from the solid 0.6% expansion seen in the opening quarter of the year to around 0.3%," he added.
Earlier today, its manufacturing PMI for Japan, which it compiles with the Nikkei, came in below expectations and remained in sub-50 contraction territory.
In Tokyo the Nikkei 225 closed up 1.07% at 16,238.35. The Topix closed up 1.10% at 1,298.71.
In Hong Kong the Hang Seng closed up 0.13% at 20,823.05. On mainland China the CSI 300 Composite slipped 0.47% 3,119.29.