LONDON — Europe’s stock markets made modest gains in midmorning trading on Thursday as the U.K. posted higher-than-anticipated retail sales figures in the month following the Brexit vote.
The FTSE MIB in Milan led the upswing, climbing 0.6 percent to 16,627.60, followed by the DAX in Frankfurt, 0.5 percent to 10,588.39. The FTSE 100 in London and the CAC 40 in Paris were both up 0.3 percent, to 6876.10 and to 4430.18 respectively.
The euro traded at $1.13, while the pound equaled $1.30 and the Swiss franc fetched $1.04 at 11:20 a.m. CET.
The pound briefly gained ground against the dollar and the euro after the release of the July retail sales figures by the U.K. Office of National Statistics. All eyes were on the July figure because it followed Britain’s vote to leave the European Union on June 23, and the numbers were ahead of industry expectations.
According to ONS, in the four-week period from July 3 to July 30, the quantity of retail sales in the U.K. were up 5.9 percent year-on-year, with all sectors showing growth and the main contribution coming from non-food stores. Compared with June 2016, the increase was 1.4 percent.
The value of goods sold at retail increased by 3.6 percent versus a year ago and by 1.6 percent compared with June. The amount spent online increased by 16.7 percent year-on-year and by 1.2 percent compared with the previous month.
The surprise retail sales gains also boosted London shares, with the morning’s biggest risers including Jimmy Choo, 3.4 percent to 1.14 pounds; French Connection Group, 2.3 percent to 0.45 pounds; Boohoo.com, 1.8 percent to 0.84 pounds, and Superdry parent SuperGroup, 1.4 percent to 15.96 pounds.
Among the very few stocks to lose ground were Koovs.com, 2.4 percent to 0.60 pounds; and Italia Independent Group, 4.6 percent to 5.39 euros.