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LVMH, Remy Cointreau results boost European shares to 2-year highs

Published 01/26/2024, 03:27 AM
Updated 01/26/2024, 12:11 PM
© Reuters. The German share price index DAX graph is pictured at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, January 25, 2024.     REUTERS/Staff
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By Shristi Achar A and Shashwat Chauhan

(Reuters) -European shares rose over 1% on Friday, boosted by upbeat quarterly updates from luxury group LVMH and spirits maker Remy Cointreau, while investors assessed interest rate cut prospects following the European Central Bank's latest policy decision.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index ended 1.1% higher, hitting its highest level in two years and clocking a weekly advance of 3.1%.

LVMH jumped 12.8% after the world's largest luxury group posted a 10% rise in fourth-quarter sales, driven by resilient demand, including from Chinese buyers.

The stock led sectoral advances, helping the personal and household goods index add 5.2%.

A gauge of the top 10 European luxury stocks gained 6.7%, while investors added some $70 billion to the market value of top luxury shares on Friday.

"The shares are up in relief because there's been so much negative commentary ... referring to a bit of a slowdown," said Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell.

"One of the core (components) of luxury goods stocks is the plutocratic customer base, that will be relatively insensitive to what goes on in the wider economy."

Remy Cointreau advanced 15.2% after the French spirits maker posted a slightly smaller-than-expected decline in third-quarter sales. Rivals Pernod Ricard (EPA:PERP) and Diageo (LON:DGE) also added 7.9% and 5.1%, respectively.

France's CAC 40 index, which houses both stocks, rallied 2.3% and outperformed other regional bourses.

Heavyweight healthcare stocks added 1.3%, lifted by a 14.4% rise in Lonza after the Swiss contract drug manufacturer reported sales and core earnings beats for 2023.

The ECB held interest rates at 4% on Thursday and reaffirmed its commitment to fighting inflation even as the time to start easing borrowing costs approaches.

A slew of strong earnings from European companies this week and a slight dovish tilt in the ECB's commentary helped the benchmark index notch its best weekly performance in 12 weeks.

Taking cues from the central bank's stress on progress in tackling inflation, money market traders are now pricing in nearly 141 basis points of rate cuts this year, up from around 130 bps a day earlier. [0#ECBWATCH]

© Reuters. The German share price index DAX graph is pictured at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, January 25, 2024.     REUTERS/Staff

On Friday's data front, German consumer sentiment is set to tumble in February as households continue to brace for uncertainty, while Spain's unemployment rate unexpectedly dipped in the fourth quarter to end the year at its lowest since 2007.

In the United States, data showed prices rose marginally in December, keeping the annual increase in inflation below 3% for a third straight month.

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