By Peter Nurse
Investing.com – European stock markets traded higher Wednesday, rebounding from their worst daily loss so far this year, boosted by strong corporate earnings which have calmed concerns about the march of Covid-19 in India.
At 3:50 AM ET (0850 GMT), the DAX in Germany traded 0.5% higher, the CAC 40 in France rose 0.6%, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 gained 0.5%, and the pan-European Stoxx 600 climbed 0.6%, after dropping nearly 2% on Tuesday.
Tech stocks were the top gainers, with semiconductor equipment maker ASML (AS:ASML) stock climbing 4.8% after it raised its full-year sales forecast to reflect the plans of major chipmakers to increase capacity and address the current global shortage.
Smaller rival ASM International (OTC:ASMIY) stock also rose 0.6%, while Ericsson (BS:ERICAs) stock slipped 0.7% despite the Swedish telecoms company beating first-quarter profit expectations, helped by sales of 5G equipment.
Elsewhere, Heineken (OTC:HEINY) stock rose 3.5% after the world’s second-largest brewer’s trading update pointed to better-than-expected beer volumes for the first quarter.
Kering (PA:PRTP) stock rose 0.4% after the French luxury group’s leading brand, Gucci, returned to growth, and Roche (SIX:RO) stock rose 0.9% after the Swiss drugmaker confirmed its guidance for the year despite a small drop in sales.
On the flip side, Akzo Nobel (OTC:AKZOY) stock fell 0.8% despite the Dutch paints company reporting a 90% increase in first-quarter profit, while announcing a $1.2 billion share buyback program. The stock has already hit a series of record highs this year as its paints and coatings business gained momentum and market share.
Juventus (MI:JUVE) stock slumped 10% after the breakaway European Super League, of which the Italian soccer club is a founder member, was rocked by the departure of its six English clubs.
Concerns remain that record coronavirus infections in India and the reinforcement of travel restrictions will act as a brake on the global economy.
India, the world’s second most populous country, reported its worst daily death Covid toll on Tuesday from the world’s highest number of new daily cases. This has led to the imposition of a six-day lockdown throughout much of the country, as well many countries putting India on their banned travel list.
Back in Europe, U.K. consumer price inflation rose 0.7% on the year in March, slightly below the 0.8% expected, illustrating that the Bank of England is under no immediate pressure to tighten its ultra easy monetary policies.
Oil prices weakened Wednesday, handing back some of the year’s strong gains as concerns over a rise in the number of Covid-19 cases in India, the world’s third largest crude importer, and a surprise build in U.S. crude oil supplies renewed fuel demand worries.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration will release its inventory data for last week later on Wednesday.
U.S. crude futures traded 0.2% lower at $62.52 a barrel, while the Brent contract fell 0.3% to $66.40. Both contracts are up just short of 30% in 2021.
European Stocks Higher as Positive Earnings Offset Indian Covid Concerns
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