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European stocks mixed; Shell shines as quarterly earnings continue

Published 05/02/2024, 05:02 AM
Updated 05/02/2024, 05:08 AM
© Reuters.

Investing.com - European stock markets traded in a mixed fashion Wednesday, with traders returning after a midweek break to digest a Federal Reserve meeting as well as a deluge of corporate earnings.

At 05:00 ET (09:00 GMT), the DAX index in Germany traded 0.1% lower, the CAC 40 in France traded 0.8% lower, while the FTSE 100 in the U.K. climbed 0.3%.

Eurozone manufacturing PMI remains weak

European investors are back in force after the Labour day holiday on Wednesday, a day that saw the Fed keep interest rates unchanged for now, with Chair Jerome Powell expressing disappointment at recent inflation readings.

That said, he made it clear that a rate hike was not on the menu, and thus upcoming economic data would likely persuade Fed officials whether to maintain current rate levels of cut as the year progresses.

Back in Europe, the final eurozone manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index, compiled by S&P Global, fell to 45.7 in April from March's 46.1, below the 50 mark denoting growth in activity for a 22nd month.

The bloc's economy recovered last quarter from a mild recession and expanded 0.3% quarter-on-quarter in January-March, official data showed on Tuesday, but the region’s manufacturing sector remains in the doldrums.

Shell shines with hefty Q1 profit

There are more quarterly earnings to digest Wednesday, including from tech giant Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) after the close of the U.S. session.

In Europe, Shell PLC (LON:SHEL) stock rose 1% after the oil major reported first-quarter profit of $7.7 billion on Thursday, sharply beating expectations, adding that it will repurchase a further $3.5 billion of its shares over the next three months.

Novo Nordisk (NYSE:NVO) stock fell 1.5%, handing back some of its 27% gains year to date, despite the Danish drugmaker raising its 2024 outlook after delivering better-than-expected first-quarter profits.

Vestas Wind Systems (OTC:VWDRY) stock fell 3.8% after the world's largest wind turbines maker reported a surprise first-quarter loss.

ING (AS:INGA) stock soared 5% after the Dutch bank announced a hefty share buyback and a strong first-quarter performance, while Standard Chartered (OTC:SCBFF) climbed a similar amount following a first-quarter profit beat.

Crude helped by weaker dollar

Crude prices edged higher Thursday, rebounding after three losing days, helped by a weaker dollar in the wake of the Fed meeting.

By 05:00 ET, the U.S. crude futures traded 0.9% higher at $79.69 a barrel, while the Brent contract climbed 1% to $84.25 per barrel.

Oil prices were buoyed chiefly by a drop in the dollar after Fed boss Jerome Powell all but ruled out an interest rate hike this year [see above] at the conclusion of the latest central bank meeting.

Crude, like many commodities, is priced in dollars, and a weaker dollar boosts demand by making oil cheaper for international buyers.

That said, gains are limited after crude fell to a seven-week low on Wednesday, pressured by an unexpected increase in U.S. crude inventories and signs of an impending Israel-Hamas ceasefire that would ease Middle East supply concerns.

Additionally, gold futures rose 0.1% to $2,313.85/oz, while EUR/USD traded marginally lower at 1.0708.


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