European Stocks Edge Higher; Publicis Earnings Impress
European stock markets edged higher Thursday, as investors digested a generally positive fresh round of corporate earnings, both in Europe and on Wall Street.
Global shares have surged in recent weeks led by expectations that successful rollouts of Covid-19 vaccines around the world and hefty stimulus packages, especially in the U.S., will unleash pent up demand, and the corporate sector is starting to offer up evidence to this effect.
Publicis (PA:PUBP) stock rose 3.4% after the world’s third-largest advertising group returned to organic growth for the first time since the start of the pandemic, fueled by high demand for digital advertising in the United States.
ABB (SIX:ABBN) stock climbed 3.5% after the Swiss engineering firm lifted its revenue guidance for 2021 after an upbeat first quarter.
Recently floated Deliveroo (LON:ROO) stock slipped 0.7% despite the food delivery company saying its orders more than doubled in the quarter to end-March in its first trading update.
In Germany, meanwhile, shares in Vonovia (DE:VNAn) rose 1.6% to their highest since early January after the country’s highest court ruled that the Berlin state senate’s attempt to cap rents on the apartments it owns was unconstitutional.
The banking sector, often seen as a proxy for the health of the wider economy, had started the ball rolling in the U.S. on Wednesday. Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) posted a record first-quarter net profits as it capitalized on record levels of global dealmaking activity, while Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC), the fourth-largest lender in the U.S., recorded bumper profits as it reduced bad loan provisions and got a grip on costs tied to its sales practices scandal.
On the economic data slate, German consumer prices rose 0.5% on the month in March, rising by less than the 0.7% level seen the previous month, while the French equivalent rose 0.6% on the month, up from a flat level in February.
In the U.S., investors will study the latest weekly report on the number of Americans filing first-time claims for unemployment insurance, while March retail sales data are expected to show a strong uptick in consumer spending.
Oil prices drifted Thursday, consolidating near one-month highs after Wednesday’s strong gains as U.S. stockpiles data added to signs the demand outlook is improving.
U.S. crude inventories fell by 5.9 million barrels last week, according to the Energy Information Administration Wednesday, more than double the drop expected, while gasoline supplied to the market last week, an indicator of U.S. consumption of the fuel, increased to 8.9 million barrels per day, the highest since August.
Both the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and the International Energy Agency upgraded their forecasts for world oil demand growth this year earlier this week.
U.S. crude futures traded 0.1% lower at $63.06 a barrel after climbing 4.9% during the previous session, while the Brent contract fell 0.1% to $66.50 after gaining 4.6% Wednesday.