European stocks higher; positive corporate earnings boost sentiment

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European stocks higher; positive corporate earnings boost sentiment
Credit: © Reuters.

By Peter Nurse 

Investing.com - European stock markets traded higher Thursday, as investors assessed the strength of the global market while digesting a deluge of mostly healthy corporate earnings.

At 03:25 ET (08:25 GMT), the DAX index in Germany traded 0.6% higher, the CAC 40 in France climbed 0.8% and the FTSE 100 in the U.K. rose 0.3%.

European equities have benefited from a positive close on Wall Street, where investors latched onto the release of stronger than expected retail sales as evidence of the resilience of the U.S. economy.

Back in Europe, European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde made it clear on Wednesday that another interest rate hike of 50 basis points was coming next month.

However, the Eurozone economy has also surprised with its durability in the face of aggressive monetary tightening, and the European Commission earlier this week lifted its economic forecasts, adding the bloc will likely dodge a recession this year.

Turning to the corporate sector, Standard Chartered (LON: STAN ) stock rose 1.5% after the U.K.-listed bank lifted its forecasts and unveiled a new $1 billion share buyback program, after reporting a 28% rise in annual pretax profit.

Centrica (LON: CNA ) stock rose 4% after the owner of British Gas reported a tripling of full-year profits after energy prices soared last year in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Pernod Ricard (EPA: PERP ) stock climbed 4% after the world's second-biggest spirits group posted strong first-half results , helped by price hikes in the Chinese and the U.S. markets.

Commerzbank (ETR: CBKG ) stock rose 6.5% after the German lender lifted its profit guidance for this year, helped by beating fourth-quarter net income expectations.  

On the flip side, Nestle (SIX: NESN ) stock slipped after the world's biggest food group reported weaker-than-expected full-year net profit despite passing on higher raw material costs by hiking prices for customers.

Oil prices rose Thursday, as optimism over a recovery in Chinese demand overshadowed a surge in the U.S. crude inventories.

U.S. crude oil stocks soared last week by just over 16 million barrels, according to data from the Energy Information Administration , released on Wednesday.

Although this resulted in the stocks climbing to the highest level since June 2021, the EIA added that the hefty build was largely due to a data adjustment, which has diluted its impact.

Additionally, data released Thursday showed that China's January air passenger traffic rose 34.8% from a year earlier, suggesting that demand from the world’s largest importer of crude will bounce back relatively quickly after its decision to abandon its strict zero-COVID policy.

By 03:25 ET, U.S. crude futures rose 0.8% to $79.22 a barrel, while the Brent contract climbed 0.6% to $85.91. 

Additionally, gold futures traded 0.4% higher at $1,851.85/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.3% higher at 1.0717.

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