LONDON – European markets were slightly higher on Wednesday morning as investors monitored economic data and corporate earnings.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 rose 0.1% above the flat line in early trading, with tech stocks gaining 1.2% while telecoms slipped 0.6%.
Stocks in Europe received a slightly positive hangover from Asia-Pacific, where Hong Kong-listed Chinese tech stocks rebounded on Wednesday after 12 major companies reported compliance with antitrust laws.
In the US, major index futures were little changed in early pre-market trading after the S&P 500 closed at a new high. Investors in the United States will be on the lookout for a few major earnings releases on Wednesday, with banking giants JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs and Wells Fargo all expected to report.
U.S. health officials on Tuesday recommended suspending distribution of Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine after six women under the age of 50 developed rare blood clots after receiving the inoculation. Johnson & Johnson has announced that it will delay the deployment of the vaccine in Europe, while South Africa has also suspended its use.
Back in Europe, Credit Suisse told investors on Tuesday that $ 2.3 billion of its loans were exposed to lingering uncertainties surrounding supply chain finance firm Greensill Capital.
Hawkish Bank of England chief economist Andy Haldane will step down from his various roles at the central bank after the June monetary policy committee meeting, the bank said on Tuesday.
On the earnings front, the French luxury group LVMH recorded a strong rebound in its first quarter results after Tuesday’s bell, supported by Chinese and American demand for Louis Vuitton handbags and Dior products. LVMH shares rose 2.7% in the first transactions.
German software giant SAP raised its revenue outlook for 2021 slightly on Tuesday after first-quarter results showed solid progress in cloud sales, rising shares by 2.7%. The compatriot plastics company Covestro also raised its profit outlook following improving margins, which saw its share increase by 2%.
UK supermarket chain Tesco reported a 14.7% drop in annual profit before the bell, although sales remained resilient. Tesco shares slipped 3.5% to the low of the Stoxx 600 at the start of trading.
Meanwhile, low-cost airline EasyJet has said it expects an overall pre-tax loss for the first half of between £ 690million ($ 950.6million) and £ 730million, but predicted an increase in flights from the end of May. EasyJet shares rose 3.5%.
At the top of the blue-chip European index, the Galapagos rose 4% after Barclays raised the title of the Belgian pharmaceutical company to “overweight”.
On the data front, Eurozone industrial production figures for February are due at 10 a.m. London time.
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