London Stocks End Tad Higher Despite GDP Reverse
FTSE 100 ends 0.2% higher at 5718.89. Although the index underperforms versus peers, it closes off lows seen after 1Q GDP data confirmed a contraction in UK economic growth. Jordan Lambert at Spreadex says impressive results from the likes of Apple and Boeing in the US have helped sentiment. But he adds, “It is worth noting the bar was set considerably low and that the real focus should probably be on earnings growth.” In London, GlaxoSmithKline ends down 3% after disappointing 1Q results. On the upside, miners lead the gains, bouncing from recent lows. The US FOMC rate announcement is at 1630 GMT. Thursday, UK BBA loans for house purchases are at 0830 GMT, followed by the CBI distributive trades survey at 1000 GMT.
Frankfurt Stocks End Sharply Higher
DAX closes 1.7% higher at 6704.50 amid improved market sentiment due to Apple’s strong results from the US overnight, traders say. Commerzbank closes +1.7% with bank stocks recovering across Europe after BBVA posts encouraging results in Spain. K+S closes 4.4% higher after the company’s US competitor Mosaic raised its 4Q outlook. Lufthansa closes +3.8% after subsidiary Austrian Airlines’ cabin crew agreed on cost-saving measures. Thursday, earnings are due from Deutsche Bank, Bayer and Deutsche Boerse. Macroeconomic data include German CPI data at 1200 GMT and US unemployment at 1230 GMT.
Paris Stocks End Sharply Up on Draghi, Merkel
CAC-40 closes 2% higher at 3233.46, following comments by ECB President Draghi that the euro zone needs more measures to boost its flagging growth rate. “Draghi’s calls were then more or less backed by [German Chancellor] Merkel, which seemed encouraging,” says a Paris trader, adding that “markets are also recovering after their recent drop.” Financial stocks rally on positive earnings updates from European banks; Societe Generale +6.3%, BNP Paribas +5.6%, Credit Agricole +5.9%, AXA +4.8%. Thursday’s data releases include EU business climate & economic sentiment at 0900 GMT.
Zurich Stocks Close Slightly Higher
SMI ends 0.4% higher at 6150.57, in line with other markets in Europe and the US, which saw solid 1Q corporate earnings. In Zurich, both Credit Suisse and ABB reported better-than-expected 1Q results. But Suisse ends down 2.5% as investors switch into UBS, which reports May 2, on hopes that it will post an equally impressive rebound; and ABB falls 3.2% as analysts dislike the reported drop in margins. Actelion closes +5.9% on speculation that Germany’s Bayer is mulling a takeover bid. The rest of the week is likely to be quiet as many participants get ready for an extended weekend break with markets closed May 1.
Amsterdam Stocks Close Firmly Higher
AEX ends 1.1% higher at 308.00, driven mainly by strong results from Apple overnight. Additionally, the lower yield of the 10-year bonds of France and the Netherlands ease some concerns on the sovereign debt crisis. AirFrance-KLM ends +8.6%; TomTom gains 2.9% despite posting a 1Q loss on a charge, as analysts consider the underlying results good. Thursday, the Dutch parliament will start a debate at 1300 GMT on measures to cut the country’s budget deficit. The macro agenda also includes German CPI data at 1200 GMT and US unemployment at 1230 GMT.
Milan Stocks End 3% Higher On Strong Bank Gains
FTSE Mib ends 3% higher at 14,606 on the back of strong gains among heavily weighted banking stocks. “The market in the last few sessions is recovering part of what it had recently lost,” says one analyst. “At the moment, nothing seems able to put pressure on the listings.” UniCredit closes +6.8%, Intesa Sanpaolo +3.8% and Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena +4.6%. Fiat Industrial ends 7% higher after reporting stronger-than-expected 1Q results. Trading is light because Italy is celebrating a national holiday.
Madrid Stocks End Sharply Up On Banks’ Solid 1Q
IBEX-35 ends 1.7% higher at 7119.3, driven by gains in the all-important banking sector in the wake of better-than-expected BBVA and Bankinter earnings updates. Weak data on US durable goods orders pushed the index off intraday highs, but still Bankinter ends +6.6%. ACS rises 6.3% following a deal to offload Abertis shares, which should help towards the key goal of cutting debt. Focus now shifts to Finance Minister Luis de Guindos, scheduled to speak at a business event at 1700 GMT.
Nordic Stocks Close Firmly Higher
Nordic equity markets end higher, helped by local earnings and strong overnight results from US tech giant Apple which improved global market sentiment. OMXN40 ends +1.6% at 979.09, OBX +1.0% at 388.95. Among companies reporting 1Q results, Electrolux rises 6.5% after a forecast-beating rise in profit, helped by higher volumes and price increase. Swedbank +3.5% after posting a smaller-than-expected drop in net profit after rising net interest income partly compensated for loan losses. Nordic focus Thursday will be on earnings from Volvo at 0530 GMT and Handelsbanken at 0500 GMT.
Athens Stocks End Session Broadly Flat
ASE ends broadly flat at 698.03 amid very low turnover of EUR21.10M. “Investors are waiting to see the direction the country is going to adopt after the national elections [May 6] and for further clarity on the recapitalization plan for Greek banks,” a local broker says. “It is a market where nobody dares to make movements.” The banking sub-index finishes 2.5% higher. National Bank closes +3%, Piraeus Bank +1.9%, EFG Eurobank flat. Elsewhere, OTE ends 2.8% lower, PPC down 0.4%.
Prague Stocks Close Firmly Higher
PX ends 1.4% higher at 935.2, continuing its rebound from steep losses earlier this week and tracking similar moves on other markets in the region. Financial stocks are the biggest gainers with Erste Group Bank the leader, closing +4.6%, followed by Komercni Banka, +2.2%. Energy stocks are mixed with NWR posting a 1.4% gain but CEZ losing 1%. Traders say that any further gains Thursday would be solely driven by continued strength on core markets in Europe and the US.
StockMarketNews Research Team