- It’s a busy day for Europe’s markets, with Total, Shell and Airbus among the companies reporting earnings before the bell.
- Finnish telecoms giant Nokia soared 16% after beating first-quarter revenue and profit expectations on the back of strong network and 5G sales.
- German consumer price inflation grew to 2.1% in April, exceeding the European Central Bank’s target of “close to but below 2%” for the second consecutive month.
European stocks advanced on Thursday as markets react to the U.S. Federal Reserve’s decision to hold interest rates near zero and digest a fresh round of corporate earnings.
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The pan-European Stoxx 600 was up 0.3% by mid-afternoon, with banks jumping 2% to lead gains while autos slid 1.8%.
Shell slightly exceeded first-quarter profit expectations to record adjusted earnings of $3.2 billion and raised its dividend by around 4%, sending the oil major’s stock 1% higher.
France’s Total saw its shares climb 0.6% after profits surged to pre-pandemic levels on the back of stronger commodity prices.
Airbus also slightly beat expectations in its first-quarter results, with the world’s largest planemaker reporting a particularly strong free cash flow of 1.26 billion euros ($1.53 billion). Airbus shares gained 1%.
Spain’s Linea Directa, formerly the insurance unit of Bankinter, surged more than 31% in its market debut in Madrid on Thursday to lead the Stoxx 600.
Finnish telecoms giant Nokia soared 13% after beating first-quarter revenue and profit expectations on the back of strong network and 5G sales.
At the bottom of the European blue chip index, Italian steel pipe supplier Tenaris fell 6.5% after missing first-quarter core profit expectations.
Stateside earnings deluge
Market focus has been dominated by the U.S. central bank and earnings reports this week. At the end of a two-day policy meeting on Wednesday, the Federal Reserve said that it would hold interest rates near zero.
Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said the recovery is “uneven and far from complete.” He added that it’s still not time to discuss reducing policy accommodation, including asset purchases.
Thursday is the busiest day of the U.S. earnings season, with roughly 11% of the S&P 500 slated to provide quarterly updates. Caterpillar, McDonald’s, Comcast and Merck all reported before the open on Wall Street, whereas Amazon and Twitter will post quarterly results after the market closes.
The U.S. economy grew 6.4% in the first quarter, new figures showed Thursday, while initial jobless claims for the week ending April 24 fell 13,000 to 553,000.
On the data front, euro zone economic sentiment surged in April, with the European Commission’s monthly survey showing optimism climbing to 110.3 points compared to 100.9 in March, vastly outstripping estimates in a Reuters poll.
German consumer price inflation grew to 2.1% in April, exceeding the European Central Bank’s target of “close to but below 2%” for the second consecutive month. The reading sent German bund yields surging.