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European Stocks Edge Higher; Credit Agricole Posts Strong Gains

Stock MarketsFeb 11, 2021 08:55
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By Peter Nurse - European stock markets edged higher Thursday, helped by solid earnings releases, including gains for Credit Agricole (OTC:CRARY), during a busy day for corporate news.

At 3:55 AM ET (0855 GMT), the DAX in Germany traded 0.5% higher, the U.K.’s FTSE 100 index climbed 0.5% and the CAC 40 in France rose 0.2%.

Stock markets have posted strong gains over the last few months on expectations that additional U.S. fiscal stimulus coupled with global vaccination programs would usher in a period of economic growth as the influence of the coronavirus pandemic waned.

However, the ongoing earnings season has been the dominant driving force Thursday, with the banking sector in particular focus.

Credit Agricole (PA:CAGR) stock soared 5.1% after the Paris-based bank indicated that the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic may have passed, reporting lower provisions and a larger-than-expected return to dividends.

On the flip side, Commerzbank (DE:CBKG) stock fell 5.1% after the German lender said that its revenue will probably shrink “slightly” this year after reporting a quarterly loss of 2.7 billion euros ($3.3 billion) after writing down asset values and booking costs for future job cuts.

UniCredit (MI:CRDI) stock fell 2.3% after the Italian bank posted a larger than expected quarterly loss late Wednesday after writing down the value of its investment banking business while CEO Jean Pierre Mustier stepped down.

Elsewhere, AstraZeneca (NASDAQ:AZN) stock rose 1.8% after the U.K.-based drugmaker beat quarterly sales estimates and forecast 2021 growth even without its Covid-19 vaccine; Danone PA:DANO) stock climbed 3% after investment company Artisan Partners (NYSE:APAM) demanded strategic changes at the French foods company; and ArcelorMittal (NYSE:MT) stock fell 0.5% after the steel giant reinstated its dividend and named Aditya Mittal as its new chief executive officer.

Additionally, Volkswagen (DE:VOWG_p) stock climbed 1% after the German car maker announced it was teaming up with U.S. tech giant Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) to speed up the development of automated driving.

Fresh economic data was thin on the ground in Europe Thursday, but investors will watch the release of the weekly jobless claims numbers in the U.S. carefully later in the session. 

Oil prices weakened Thursday, as traders banked profits after a strong rally, despite a larger than expected drop in U.S. crude supplies raising hopes of a recovery in demand in the world’s largest consumer.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration recorded late Wednesday a draw of 6.64 million barrels for the week to Feb. 5, with crude stocks falling for a third straight week to their lowest level since March. A small addition had been expected.

The international benchmark Brent contract fell 0.6% to $61.09, after having risen for the previous nine sessions, its longest sustained period of gains since January 2019. U.S. crude futures traded 0.6% lower at $58.35 a barrel, with Wednesday having seen its eighth daily rise.

Elsewhere, gold futures rose 0.1% to $1,843.30/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.1% higher at 1.2123.


European Stocks Edge Higher; Credit Agricole Posts Strong Gains

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Oj bright Solution Feb 11, 2021 10:02
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