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Markets

Upbeat earnings lift European stocks, glitch hits trading in some markets

  • As daily cases in Italy hit a new record over the weekend, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte gave mayors the power to shut public squares from 9 p.m. to halt gatherings.
Published October 19, 2020

European stocks rose on Monday as strong earnings updates from Swiss wealth manager Julius Baer and Dutch firm Philips overshadowed worries about fresh coronavirus restrictions across the continent.

Morning trading in some European markets, including Paris' CAC 40 and Amsterdam's AEX, was hit by a technical issue at exchange operator Euronext, which halted trading in all its cash and derivatives products.

The CAC 40 was up 0.8pc at 4,976.15 points before the halt, while other European bourses pared some gains.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index gained 0.6pc, recovering much of last week's losses.

Julius Baer gained 5.4pc after it indicated an improvement in profitability for the first nine months of 2020 as client activity increased and it cut costs.

The broader financial services sector rose 1.2pc, with Credit Suisse and UBS up between 2.8pc and 4.2pc.

Health technology company Philips reported a better-than-expected jump in core earnings.

European third-quarter earnings are forecast to recover from a pandemic-led slump, with analysts expecting companies on the STOXX 600 to report an average 36.7pc drop, compared with a 51pc drop in the previous quarter, according to Refinitiv data.

Also lending support was hopes of a coronavirus vaccine by the end of the year and a fresh US stimulus package before the November presidential election.

"Markets, for now, are merely relieved that at least the two sides continue to talk," wrote Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at Oanda.

That encouraged investors to look past concerns about new curbs in various parts of Europe and their impact on a nascent economic recovery.

As daily cases in Italy hit a new record over the weekend, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte gave mayors the power to shut public squares from 9 p.m. to halt gatherings.

Meanwhile, Britain's government scientific adviser said the country needs to impose a three-week period of national lockdown restrictions.

"A double-dip recession in Europe could have knock-on effects across the world, including Asia and is very much an ignored unknown," wrote Halley.

Danone, the world's largest yoghurt maker, advanced 1.4pc as it reinstated its forecasts for 2020 and said it was launching a review of its assets.

Swedish defence company Saab sank 11.4pc to the bottom of STOXX 600 after it reported a fall in third-quarter profit and could not confirm its previous financial outlook for the year.

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