Earnings boost, but on course for negative month

LONDON — European markets are set to open higher on Friday as global stocks receive a boost from strong corporate earnings, but remain on course for a negative month.

Britain’s FTSE 100 is seen around 68 points higher at 7,577, Germany’s DAX is set to climb by around 170 points to 14,150 and France’s CAC 40 is expected add around 72 points to 6,580, according to IG data.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 index closed Thursday’s session higher on the back of a host of earnings reports, but is still down almost 2% for the month as investors enter the final trading day of April.

Shares across major markets were buoyed on Thursday by a robust round of corporate earnings, with a positive session in Wall Street leading into optimism in Asia-Pacific shares on Friday. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index gained more than 2% as tech shares bounced following a 3% climb for the Nasdaq.

However, US stock futures pointed to a mixed open on Friday in early premarket trade, with Nasdaq futures pulling back after Amazon’s and Apple’s quarterly results disappointed.

Friday was another busy day for earnings in Europe, with BASF, AstraZeneca, Reckitt, Eni, NatWest, Pearson and MTU Aero Engines among those reporting before the bell, while Daimler and Credit Suisse hold annual general meetings.

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On the data front, the French economy stagnated in the first quarter of the year as weak domestic demand continued despite an easing of Covid-19 restrictions. The euro zone’s second-largest economy was unchanged following growth of 0.8% in the final quarter of 2021, with economists in a Wall Street Journal poll having projected a quarterly expansion of 0.3%.

German, Italian and wider euro area GDP growth and inflation readings are due later in the morning.

Meanwhile, global investors continue to monitor the war in Ukraine and its geopolitical implications, after Russian President Vladimir Putin warned the West of a “lightning fast” response to countries that intervene in the war.

Russia shocked the European community by halting gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria on Wednesday because they had refused to pay for the gas in Russian rubles, as Moscow demanded.

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