The Business Times

Europe: Shares close higher, tracking Wall Street gains

Published Sat, Oct 29, 2022 · 04:45 AM

European shares closed higher on Friday (Oct 28), as upbeat cues from Wall Street helped offset early losses emanating from weaker commodity prices and mixed earnings reports.

After falling as much as 1.1 per cent earlier, the pan-European Stoxx 600 index rose as the session wore on, closing up 0.1 per cent at a fresh five-week high.

Wall Street indexes were boosted by Apple’s better-than-expected results.

The Stoxx 600 closed flat on Thursday after the European Central Bank raised interest rates as expected and said “substantial” progress had already been made in its bid to fight off a historic surge in inflation.

“We have seen a shift in terms of some of the central banks, and I see this as slowing into the terminal rate,” said Josh Mahony, senior market analyst at IG Group. “And then it’s a question mark on how long are we going to stay there, given inflation is going to be consistent going forward.”

Data showed France’s economy eked out meagre growth in the third quarter, but a jump in October inflation to record high levels pointed to the headwinds looming in the final quarter of the year.

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Another set showed the German economy grew unexpectedly, as Europe’s largest economy staved off the threat of recession for now, despite high inflation and concerns over energy supply.

Germany’s DAX climbed 0.2 per cent, while France’s CAC 40 index rose 0.5 per cent.

Despite the economic worries, the Stoxx 600 posted its best weekly performance in seven months with a 3.7 per cent gain, as expectations of a slower pace of interest rate hikes and better-than-expected earnings reports boosted sentiment.

Nearly half of the Stoxx 600 companies have reported so far, with a net 20 per cent topping analysts’ profit estimates, signalling a healthy beat, according to Morgan Stanley analysts. They, however, also pointed out that earnings revisions remain negative.

OMV shares jumped 9.3 per cent, topping the Stoxx 600 constituents, after the Austrian energy group nearly doubled its core quarterly profit, driven by soaring oil and gas prices.

Sanofi rose 3.3 per cent after the French drugmaker forecast faster earnings growth this year on strong demand for its bestselling drug Dupixent and flu vaccines.

Volkswagen dropped 1.9 per cent after Europe’s top carmaker reported quarterly earnings behind pre-pandemic levels and said it expected deliveries to be similar to last year.

Air France slumped 13.1 per cent after the airline trimmed its capacity outlook for the winter.

Among major sectors, miners took a sharp hit as commodity prices dropped on worries about China’s expanding Covid-19 restrictions.

Europe’s retail stocks fell 2 per cent after a dire holiday-quarter forecast from the world’s largest retailer Amazon.com. REUTERS

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