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Europe close: Stocks carve out small gains buoyed by results and data

Thu 06 May 2021 16:30 | A A A

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FTSE 100 | FTSE 250 | Paris CAC 40 | Dow Jones | NASDAQ

7017.47 | Negative 135.96 (1.90%)

Prices delayed by at least 15 minutes

(Sharecast News) - European markets finished mostly higher as investors cheered strong earnings from Societe Generale and others.

"After a solid rebound yesterday, European stocks have been slightly more subdued today, and somewhat mixed, with tech shares acting as the main drag, although any weakness has been much more modest than was the case on Tuesday," said Michael Hewson, chief analyst at CMC Markets UK.

"The pharmaceutical sector has underperformed today on the back of the EU following the US in saying it was open to the idea of patent waivers for coronavirus vaccines. AstraZeneca has avoided the worst of the fallout here, given it is providing the vaccine at cost, and as such won't suffer any potential hit to profits from any waiver, unlike its peers. Who said altruism is a bad thing?"

By the end of trading, the pan-European Stoxx 600 index had dipped 0.12% to 441.02, but nearly all the major regional bourses ended up - even if only slightly.

The Dax had inched up 0.17% to 15,196.74, alongside a 0.13% rise to 24,495.07 for the FTSE Mibtel, while Spain's Ibex 35 advanced 0.16% to 8,982.20.

In equity news, shares in Societe Generale rose 5% as the French bank recorded a higher than expected first quarter profit with its equities unit rebounding from to post its best performance in six years.

Italian bank UniCredit was higher by a similar percentage after posting better-than-expected first-quarter net profit thanks to higher revenues driven by fee and trading income and shrinking loan losses.

Net income for the first quarter came in at €814m. Analysts were expecting a net income of €204m.

Shares in global nutrition group Glanbia were up 6% after the company said its first-quarter revenues were up 10.5% on a constant currency basis compared to 2020.

Anheuser-Busch InBev stock gained 5% after it reported first-quarter earnings ahead of expectations and said North America boss Michel Doukeris will replace Carlos Brito as chief executive officer.

Shares in online ticket platform Trainline fell 7% after the company reported wider losses as demand plunged during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mondi shares slipped 1% - but finished well off their session lows - despite the company reporting strong demand for its packaging as online shopping surged and customers looked for more eco-friendly products in the first quarter.

There was further good news on the economic front with Eurostat reporting a 2.7% month-on-month jump in euro area retail sales (consensus: 1.6%), alongside sharp upwards revisions to prior months' data.

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