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European Stocks Higher; Strong Shell 1Q Helps Oil Sector

Stock MarketsApr 29, 2021 03:39AM ET
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By Peter Nurse - European stock markets traded largely higher Thursday, helped by positive corporate earnings, particularly in the heavily-weighted oil sector, following the Federal Reserve’s decision to keep to its easy money policies in place.

At 3:40 AM ET (0840 GMT), the DAX in Germany traded 0.1% lower, but the CAC 40 in France rose 0.6%, to a new 52-week high, and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 climbed 0.5%.

The first-quarter corporate earnings season continued apace Thursday, with the oil & gas sector in the spotlight.

Royal Dutch Shell (LON:RDSa) stock rose 1.7% after the oil major reported net income of $3.23 billion, its highest profit since the third quarter of 2019, following the recovery in global oil and gas markets. The company also reduced its debt burden and went ahead with a planned 4% increase to its dividend payout. Equinor ASA (OL:EQNR) also raised its dividend after reporting a sharp rebound in profit.

Total (PA:TOTF) stock also rose 1.4% after the French energy group reported net income of $3 billion, similar to the levels it was generating before the coronavirus pandemic hit profits. 

Elsewhere, Airbus (PA:AIR) stock rose 2.7% after the aircraft manufacturer posted higher first-quarter core earnings, Standard Chartered (OTC:SCBFF) stock rose 2.8% after the U.K.-based bank posted a higher-than-expected 18% rise in quarterly pretax profit, and Nokia (NYSE:NOK) soared over 11% after the Finnish telecom network equipment maker reported better-than-expected first-quarter revenue and profit, helped by a growth in sales of 5G equipment.

On the flip side, German carrier Deutsche Lufthansa (DE:LHAG) stock fell 0.6% after the German carrier posted another net loss in the first quarter, albeit a smaller one thanks to drastic cost cuts.

Euronext (PA:ENX) stock fell 2.2% after the European exchange operator completed its acquisition of Borsa Italiana from the London Stock Exchange Group (LON:LSEG) in a deal worth 4.4 billion euros ($5.34 billion), a deal that was first announced in October and received the green light from European regulators in March. The stock was hit by the announcement that it is issuing 579 million of new equity to Italian banks CDP and Intesa Sanpaolo (MI:ISP) as part of the deal.

The U.S. Federal Reserve left its benchmark rate unchanged in the range of 0% to 0.25% on Wednesday and maintained its monthly pace of bond buying at $120 billion, as widely expected.

In the press conference that followed the policy statement, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell continued to signal that the central bank was in no rush to adjust its accommodative stance even as vaccine rollouts and fiscal stimulus bolster the country’s economic recovery.

Economic data releases from Europe Thursday will center around German unemployment and inflation numbers for April.

Oil prices edged higher Thursday, with a smaller-than-expected rise in crude stockpiles last week adding to the general market confidence of a strong rebound in global demand this year.

U.S. crude futures traded 0.5% higher at $64.20 a barrel, while the Brent contract rose 0.5% to $67.13.

Elsewhere, gold futures rose 0.3% to $1,779.35/oz, while EUR/USD traded flat at 1.2121.


European Stocks Higher; Strong Shell 1Q Helps Oil Sector

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Jim Jones
Jim Jones Apr 29, 2021 4:31AM ET
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All earnings are strong compared to the last 4 quarters.
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