Stronger Earnings Give Equity Markets a Lift--Update

Date : 04/29/2014 @ 5:55AM
Source : Dow Jones News
Stock : BP P.L.C. (BP)
Quote : 34.68  0.0 (0.00%) @ 6:36AM

Stronger Earnings Give Equity Markets a Lift--Update

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By Josie Cox and Tommy Stubbington 

A flurry of better-than-expected earnings boosted European equity markets Tuesday.

   -- Live: Markets Pulse Stream 

The Stoxx 600 Europe was around 0.5% higher midmorning.

With the majority of earnings reports so far this season missing analyst expectations, investors broadly cheered figures from the likes of Deutsche Bank, Infineon and Hermès.

Germany's largest lender reported that its first-quarter net profit fell 24% to EUR1.1 billion, from EUR1.65 billion a year earlier, but above analysts' estimates of EUR927 million. Compatriot chip maker Infineon's revenue and earnings rose more than analysts had expected in the second quarter, and it reaffirmed its outlook, backed by a positive outlook on the global economy.

Demand for luxury goods in Japan, meanwhile, supported Hermès' first-quarter results. The French fashion group, famous for its handbags and printed silk scarves, said revenue rose 10% in the quarter.

Most major indexes were higher, with Germany's DAX rising 0.6%, the U.K's FTSE 100 up 0.5%, while France's CAC-40 was flat.

In the U.S., stock futures edged up, with the S&P 500 indicated to open 0.2% higher. Changes in futures don't always accurately predict market moves after the opening bell.

"For equity markets, this is a year that needs to deliver in terms of earnings growth, so any sign of that is a positive," said François Savary, who oversees around $10 billion of assets as chief investment officer at Swiss bank Reyl.

Even so, Europe's first-quarter earnings season remains a mixed bag, with much of the current positivity in markets stemming from a brighter picture in the U.S., he added.

Tuesday's earnings brought some further disappointments.

Swiss-based power-and-technology group ABB was one of the biggest fallers, after it reported an 18% drop in first-quarter profit.

Shares in Serco slumped almost 20%, after the outsourcing company on Monday night issued a profit warning. It said that its performance so far in 2014 has been more challenging than expected.

Another faller was French car maker Peugeot, which was due to start a EUR3 billion capital increase to pave the way for the French state and China's Dongfeng Motor Corp. to acquire sizable stakes in this country's largest auto maker.

Elsewhere, investors proved largely unperturbed by Monday's list of Russian sanctions. Moscow's MICEX was trading around 1.1% higher.

In currency markets, the euro nudged higher following German regional data, which showed a pickup in annual inflation. Ahead of the key inflation report for the euro zone on Wednesday, the figures are likely to diminish expectations that further European Central Bank easing is imminent.

"In a nutshell, German inflation will remain tame but today's figures will show that the March collapse wasn't a sign that deflation was around the corner," said Annalisa Piazza, an economist at Newedge.

The euro climbed 0.2% against the dollar to $1.3880 before dropping back slightly.

Sterling gave up early gains against the dollar after U.K. first-quarter gross domestic product grew by 3.1% on the year, marginally below expectations.

The pound was little-changed on the day at $1.6810.

In commodities markets, gold was down 0.6% at $1,287.90 an ounce, and Brent crude oil was 0.5% higher at $108.70 a barrel.

Write to Josie Cox at josie.cox@wsj.com and Tommy Stubbington at tommy.stubbington@wsj.com

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