(Reuters) – European stocks hit record highs on Thursday, following a string of strong corporate earnings and as the European Central Bank left policy unchanged as expected.
Heavyweight Nestlé rose nearly 3% after posting its strongest quarterly sales growth in 10 years, while software group SAP and French spirits group Pernod Ricard were among other titles to jump after results .
Credit Suisse, meanwhile, fell 2.1% after the collapse of U.S. investment fund Archegos wiped out what would have been an exceptional trading period, leaving it with a quarterly pre-tax loss of just under that announced of 757 million Swiss francs. . [nL8N2MF0OU]
The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.7%, extending gains for a second day, after fears of a new wave of COVID-19 cases pushed European markets to their worst day in 2021 on Tuesday.
As global investors remain nervous about the resurgence of the coronavirus crisis in Asia and stretched valuations in parts of US stocks, European stocks have seen strong gains this year as the COVID-vaccination campaign – 19 and stimulus programs raise hopes of a strong economic rebound.
The ECB’s decision to keep rates unchanged as widely expected paves the way for a battle at the June 10 meeting, when policymakers must decide whether or not to slow bond purchases, even if that means allowing costs. loan to drift higher.
“If the more optimistic projections for the immunization rollout really materialize … the next batch of staff projections (in June) could show an upward revision in growth forecasts and confirmation of the economic recovery in the second half of the year. Said Carsten Brzeski, Global Head of Macro at ING.
Shares of renewable energy companies such as Vestas and Siemens Gamesa surged, with Vestas surging 10% on its best day of the month, after the Biden administration committed Thursday at a US climate summit in halve greenhouse gas emissions in the United States by 2030.
Bag maker Birkin Hermes grew 2.1%, as strong growth in Asia led to a 44% increase in quarterly sales.
European companies are expected to come out of a two-year drop in profits with a record jump that outperforms their US peers, as company profits in the STOXX 600 rose 61% in the first quarter, according to Refinitiv IBES data.
Among other downgraders, Britain’s largest defense contractor BAE Systems lost 5% as it faced mounting criticism for giving its chief executive an additional £ 2million ($ 2.8million ) to convince him to stay.
Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Edited by Shounak Dasgupta, Uttaresh.V and Jane Merriman