European Stocks Higher; Positive Corporate Sentiment Ahead of ECB By

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By Peter Nurse – European stock markets traded higher Thursday, continuing the global rally, helped by generally positive corporate results ahead of the latest meeting of the European Central Bank. 

At 3:45 AM ET (0845 GMT), the in Germany traded 0.4% higher, the in France rose 0.5% and the U.K.’s climbed 0.2%.

The major indices all closed higher on Wall Street Wednesday, as investors resumed bets on reopening stocks, shrugging off a fresh wave of Covid-19 cases in the likes of India and Japan that threatens to slow the global recovery.

Stock markets in Asia largely followed suit, with Japan’s in particular closing over 2% higher, and Europe has continued the theme.

Pernod Ricard (PA:) stock climbed over 2%, to its highest level in a year, after the French drinks maker reported strong sales growth in the three months to the end of March, helped by strong demand in its key U.S. and Chinese markets. U.K. rival Diageo (LON:) also benefited on a read across, with its stock climbing 1.4%, to a 52-week high.

SAP (DE:) stock rose 2% after CEO Christian Klein said the software group had “an absolute blowout in the cloud” in the first quarter, while Hermes (PA:) stock climbed 2.8%, to an all-time high, after sales at the luxury good manufacturer, famous for its Birkin bag, soared 44% in the first quarter, powered by strong growth in Asia.

Nestle (SIX:) stock also climbed 3% after the Swiss food giant confirmed organic sales should grow more than expected this year after strong demand for its coffee and dairy products boosted growth in the first quarter.

On the flip side, Credit Suisse (SIX:) stock fell 3.5% after the Swiss banking giant posted a first-quarter loss and announced a 1.7 billion-franc capital increase, as a hefty hit from the Archegos hedge fund scandal spoiled what would have been its best quarter operationally in at least a decade.

Renault (PA:) stock fell 2.2% after the French car maker’s revenue unexpectedly fell in the first quarter as it lagged behind European peers in recovering from the pandemic.

Also of interest later Thursday will be the latest policy-setting meeting of the , even with the central bank widely expected to leave its policy and guidance unchanged.

Oil prices slipped Thursday, continuing to weaken after a surprise increase in inventories added to concerns about growing numbers of Covid-19 cases in India and Japan, the third and fourth largest oil importers in the world.

U.S. unexpectedly edged higher in the week ended on April 16 by 594,000 barrels, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday, confirming data from the day before.

U.S. crude futures traded 0.7% lower at $60.93 a barrel, while the contract fell 0.6% to $64.90. Both contracts fell more than 2% on Wednesday, closing at their lowest since April 13.

Elsewhere, were flat at $1,793.10/oz, while traded 0.1% higher at 1.2045.


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