European shares on Friday rose to their highest in a week as strong earnings reports and a rally in miners boosted risk appetite at the end of a volatile month dominated by concerns about slowing global growth.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.7%, trimming its monthly declines to 1.2%. Friday’s rally lost some of its lustre after Wall Street opened lower as Amazon and Apple results weighed.
Worries about faster interest rate hikes, Russian gas supplies, China’s COVID-19 lockdowns and lofty valuations in the U.S. technology sector triggered sell-offs in global equities this month, with the STOXX 600 sinking to a one-month low at one point.
Miners rallied 2.5% on Friday as iron ore and copper prices rose after China vowed economic support, raising hopes for sustained demand.
The metals and mining index marked its first monthly decline in four as lockdowns in China weighed heavily, pushing the index down almost 10% from 14-year highs it scaled just last week.
“Higher commodity prices have helped stabilise industrial European stocks, and crucially the magic promise of Chinese stimulus has appeared, pushing up commodity prices and giving stocks across the continent a lift,” said Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at online trading platform IG.
Upbeat earnings reports also helped markets, with Danish drugmaker Novo Nordisk gaining 5.4% after increasing its sales and operating profit outlook for the year.
French spirits group Remy Cointreau predicted a strong start to business in its first quarter to June. Its shares, rose 1.8%.
“We saw during the pandemic that corporate earnings are fairly resilient to the large economic shocks. It is also signalled by recent earnings reports,” said Elwin de Groot, senior market economist at Rabobank.
Analysts expect profit for STOXX 600 companies to grow 27.1% in the first quarter and 13.7% in the second quarter, as per Refinitiv IBES data, with the biggest boost coming from energy companies.
Eurozone economic growth was slower than expected in the first three months of the year, preliminary data showed, as the conflict in Ukraine hit economic activity.
Dutch chipmaking equipment supplier BE Semiconductor slumped 9.2% after it said its order intake in 2022 had been limited by lower demand for high-end smartphones and weakness in Chinese markets.
Dutch technology investor Prosus, which has a major stake in China’s Tencent, jumped 9% after a report said U.S. and Chinese regulators were negotiating on-site audits in a key step to avoid U.S. delistings of Chinese companies.