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European Q4 earnings season: The story so far

Stock MarketsFeb 01, 2021 10:29
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By Samuel Indyk – European Q4 earnings have got off to a strong start with 45 of the largest companies reporting equating to approximately 14% of the market cap of the STOXX 600.

“So far, earnings for Q4 have surprised 13% to the upside (equal-weighted), which is the highest positive surprise since the global financial crisis,” analysts at Goldman Sachs wrote in a research note. “The surprise is slightly larger than the remarkably good result in Q3. More than half the companies reported a positive surprise,” they added.

A similar picture has been seen with revenue as sales have so far surprised 3% to the upside. Nevertheless, consensus earnings expectations for STOXX Europe 600 companies are still 15% lower than the same period last year with FY earnings expected down 30% YoY.


Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) note that banks and financial services companies have reported some of the strongest early results. Banks that have reported so far include UBS Group AG (NYSE:UBS), Bankinter (MC:BKT), Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA (MC:BBVA), Caixabank SA (MC:CABK) and Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken AB A (ST:SEBa). Of those, UBS beat expectations by 50% and announced plans to resume share repurchases and SEB reported an 11% beat.

The all-important technology sector has also got off to a good start. ASML Holding NV (AS:ASML) reported on the 20th January, beating consensus estimates. German tech company SAP SE (DE:SAPG) have pre-released their figures for Q4 which beat expectations but had a cautious outlook.

Another important sector is the healthcare sector. Shares in the sector underperformed during 2020 despite the Covid-19 pandemic as companies lost revenue in other areas and company focus turned to the coronavirus. So far, performance has been mostly in-line with expectations. Koninklijke Philips NV (AS:PHG) posted a beat, boosted by their connected care segment which was Covid-19 related.


This week a number of companies are scheduled to report earnings in the UK and Europe. From the UK, companies reporting include BP on Tuesday, GlaxoSmithKline and Vodafone on Wednesday, and Shell and BT on Thursday.

Earnings this week from Europe include Ferrari on Tuesday, Siemens and Santander (MC:SAN) on Wednesday, Infineon and Nokia on Thursday and Sanofi, BNP Paribas and Intesa Sanpaolo on Friday.  

European Q4 earnings season: The story so far

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