European shares edge up as quarterly earnings flood in

Ireland’s benchmark index does not follow suit and closes down 0.12% after flat day

A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. US stocks hovered near record levels on Wednesday ahead of a highly anticipated tax plan. Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg

A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. US stocks hovered near record levels on Wednesday ahead of a highly anticipated tax plan. Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg

 

European stocks started the day on a positive note but calmed down towards the end of trade as earnings season entered full swing.

DUBLIN

It was another flat day on Ireland’s benchmark index which closed down by 0.12 per cent.

Glanbia had the most negative impact on the Iseq 20 and closed down by 2.53 per cent. The company reported first-quarter earnings with growth not as strong as expected in the group’s nutritionals division, according to traders. However, Davy stockbrokers reiterated its “outperform” call on the stock while Goodbody retained its “buy” recommendation.

Another company that reported earnings was CRH, which closed up by 0.67 per cent at €33.675. Davy stockbrokers forecast a continuation of acquisition activity in the company, given the strength of its balance sheet. The building materials company had a more modest performance in London where it closed up 0.4 per cent.

There were two Irish companies in the top 10 fallers in Europe’s STOXX 600 index: Glanbia and Bank of Ireland. According to traders, the latter has had a good run and its drop on Wednesday by 2.53 per cent wasn’t a terribly significant move for the stock.

Independent News and Media continued its positive run and closed up by 0.76 per cent at €0.132.

Irish Residential Properties REIT, Hibernia REIT and Green REIT all saw gains between 0.6 and 1.55 per cent on the day but, according to traders, their moves were not connected.

LONDON

British shares rose on Wednesday as gains for Standard Chartered and other companies reporting well-received results helped offset a pullback in healthcare stocks. The blue-chip FTSE 100 index closed up 0.2 per cent, broadly in line with other European bourses, and rising for the third straight session.

Standard Chartered was the biggest gainer, rising 4 per cent after its quarterly profit nearly doubled from a year ago as the bank brought loan losses under control.

Fellow lenders Barclays and Lloyds Banking Group both rose about 0.8 per cent.

Among those boosted by earnings statements was chemicals company Croda, which rose 3.8 per cent to a record high.

Heavyweight drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline fell more than 2 per cent after reporting first-quarter figures, while Shire dropped 0.6 per cent. A big faller among blue-chips was GKN, down 1.8 per cent, after the engineering group warned that the encouraging growth rate achieved to date may not last.

EUROPE

French luxury group Kering hit a record high on Wednesday after reporting strong sales and European shares hovered near a 20-month peak, supported by a wave of earnings results that largely outperformed market expectations.

The pan-European benchmark gained 0.47 per cent in early trading as luxury stocks and financials underpinned gains.

Other luxury names across Europe rose on Kering’s momentum, with Moncler and Salvatore Ferragamo top of Italy’s blue-chips, while LVMH climbed earlier in the day but ultimately closed down by 0.76 per cent.

Fallers were led by Bic, which plunged 10.26 per cent to a more than two-year low, after its first-quarter net income and sales fell on weak US demand.

Credit Suisse, which kicked off much-anticipated results for European banks with a beat and plans for a $4 billion cash call, rose 2.68 per cent.

NEW YORK

US stocks hovered near record levels on Wednesday ahead of a highly anticipated tax plan, while a flood of quarterly earnings reports kept investors busy.

Boeing’s shares fell and weighed the most on the Dow after the planemaker reported a decline in revenue.

Procter & Gamble’s decline was also a drag on the index, after the company’s quarterly profit fell. Seagate tumbled, dragging down shares of rival Western Digital, after issuing disappointing revenue forecast for the current quarter.

Twitter also jumped after reporting a strong rise in monthly active users and a quarterly profit that blew past expectations.

– (Additional reporting: Reuters)