LONDON — European stock markets made modest gains in mid-morning trading, but the specter of Spain’s troubled banks and the upcoming Greek elections continue to weigh on investors’ minds and pocketbooks.
The FTSE MIB in Milan led the upward trend, rising 1 percent to 13,006.55, followed by the FTSE 100, which rose 0.9 percent to 5,342.22. The CAC 40 in Paris was up 0.8 percent to 3,038.62, while the DAX in Frankfurt climbed 0.4 percent to 6,305.23.
The euro traded at $1.24 while the pound traded at $1.56 at 11:15 am CET.
Retail and luxury stocks were mostly up with the markets, with the morning’s biggest gainers including the German distribution giant Metro AG, which climbed 2.2 percent to 23.40 euros following news earlier this week that it sold its U.K. retail division to Booker.
Hugo Boss was up 1.8 percent to 77.08 euros, while Unilever advanced 1 percent to 25.45 euros. French Connection climbed 1.1 percent to 0.24 pounds.
Among the stocks that lost ground in mid-morning trading were Yoox, which was down 1.1 percent to 11.22 euros, and Hermès International, which sank 1.9 percent to 263.35 euros following news earlier this week that Axel Dumas, 41, a member of the brand’s founding family, will be named joint chief executive in June 2013, before taking over the role completely.
The macro-economic backdrop in Europe remains bleak: Europe’s investors are concerned that Spain’s banking problems will raise its borrowing costs to dangerous levels, and the latest poll in Greece suggests that pro- and anti-austerity parties are garnering equal support from voters in the run-up to a second round of elections on June 17.