Opening Bell: The eurozone's recovery, Juncker and tax avoidance, Bitcoin’s boom

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European shares rose yesterday as investors bet on the eurozone’s recovery gaining momentum.

Manufacturing data for euro-countries showed that activity across the bloc grew at its fastest-pace in five and a half years during December.

IHS Markit's PMI data suggests that Brexit uncertainty and Trump’s victory in the US have had little effect on the bloc’s recovery.

The Euro Stoxx 50 index gained 0.6% yesterday.

Trading will resume in Dublin this morning following yesterday’s Bank Holiday.


The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists - the group behind the LuxLeaks and Panama Papers - has unearthed new documents detailing Luxembourg’s attempts to block EU clampdowns on tax avoidance.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker was the prime minister of Luxembourg for 18 years while the industrial-scale tax avoidance documented in the LuxLeak papers took place.

Since he became Commission President he has led a movement to curb avoidance - but newly leaked documents brought to the public by The Guardian and German radio group NDR show that under his leadership Luxembourg worked to stall EU tax reforms.

The Guardian reports that when Juncker was prime minister, Luxembourg was at the fore of efforts to “delay, dilute and derail” tax reforms.


Bitcoin’s rally has continued into 2017.

One Bitcoin now buys more than $1,000 for the first time in three years.

The value of the digital currency rose by 125% last year.

The majority of Bitcoin transactions take place in China - and its rise in value has coincided with yuan’s fall in value.

The digital currency’s value also rose after Donald Trump was named US President-elect in November.

Bitcoin hit its all-time high of $1,163 in late 2013 - but its value soon plummeted to less than $400 after a major Bitcoin exchange site was hacked.


New data from Lloyds has found that confidence among British business executives has begun to recover after hitting a four-year low in September - but Brexit nerves are still keeping them up at night.

Its survey found that economic uncertainty and falling demand in the UK are the two main sources of concern for business leaders in the UK as it prepares to leave the EU.

According to the data manufacturing and hospitality have been the two big winners from the pound’s recent struggles - but the report notes that business confidence remains well below its long-term average.