Upbeat economic data helps European shares snap losing run - GulfToday

Upbeat economic data helps European shares snap losing run


The German share price index DAX graph is pictured at the stock exchange in Frankfurt on Friday. Reuters

European shares rose on Friday after upbeat industrial output data from Italy and France raised hopes of an economic recovery, even as a spike in coronavirus cases around the world kept gains in check.

Breaking a three-day losing streak, the pan-European STOXX 600 closed up 0.9%, with Italian shares leading with a 1.3% jump.

Milan stocks were boosted by Italy reporting a rise in production of 42.1% in May from the month before, almost double of what economists were predicting, with the economy minister forecasting further gains in June and July.

“The last batch of hard data is somewhat comforting,” said Paolo Pizzoli, senior economist, EMU, Italy, Greece at ING.

“Both production and retail sales data for May have shown that reopening after the strict lockdown was quick. This should, in principle, reduce the risk of an extreme GDP contraction in the second quarter.” However, he warned that as most of the reopening in the manufacturing domain was completed in May, June data will have limited room for a rise in production.

France’s CAC 40 rose for the first time in four sessions, as production at French factories, mines and water-treatment plants jumped an unprecedented 19.6% in May.

The STOXX 600 rose just 0.4% this week weighed by fears of more business shutdowns, particularly in the United States, as the country registered the largest single-day increase in new COVID-19 infections globally for the second day in a row on Thursday.

Investors are awaiting the second-quarter earnings season next week to gauge the economic damage wreaked by the crisis. Analysts are expecting a 53.9% fall in profit for STOXX 600-listed companies.

Focus is also on a European Central Bank meeting and a European Union summit next week, with hopes running high that a 750 billion euro ($851.70 billion) coronavirus recovery fund will be approved by the member states.

Banks, auto stocks and food & beverage companies were among the biggest gainers on the day.

Danish brewer Carlsberg rose 6.4% after it said its expects a smaller-than-forecast drop in first-half profit as its main China market had rebounded strongly during the second quarter.

The healthcare index declined as GlaxoSmithKline lost 1.1% after the US Food and Drug Administration said on Friday it was unclear whether the benefits of GSK’s experimental treatment for multiple myeloma outweigh the risks ahead of a review of a side-effect which affects the eyes.

Meanwhile,the S&P 500 and Dow rose in choppy trading on Friday, boosted by financial stocks but the sentiment was fragile as a record rise in coronavirus cases in the United States threatened to further damage Corporate America.

Technology stocks weakened, dragging the Nasdaq from its third record closing high this week.

The United States registered the largest single-day increase in new COVID-19 infections globally for the second day in a row on Thursday. About 41 of the 50 US states have reported an increase in cases over the last two weeks that has forced Americans to take new precautions, with several states backpedaling on reopening plans.

“Investors are still trying to weigh the optimism that we have seen since the March 23 lows based on generally better-than-expected economic reports and the belief that the second quarter earnings will be the trough for this earnings recession,” said Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA Research.

“But the wildcard seems to be the pickup in corona cases, not just in one location but essentially across the country.” A slate of economic data, including a record monthly payrolls addition, has pointed to a revival in business activity in June, fueling the US stock market’s stimulus-driven rally.

The S&P 500 has risen more than 40% from its March lows and stands about 8% below its record high hit in February.

A bright spot was data showing Gilead’s antiviral remdesivir significantly improved clinical recovery and reduced the risk of death in COVID-19 patients in a late-stage study. Gilead’s shares rose 2.5%.

Bank of America Corp, Citigroup Inc, JPMorgan Chase & Co and Goldman Sachs rose between 2.7% and 3.4% ahead of their financial results next week, which would mark the onset of the second-quarter earnings season.

Overall profits for S&P 500 firms are expected to plunge the most since the financial crisis, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

“With the earnings expectations so low, investors are of the mindset that they will more likely be exceeded rather than fall even further,” said Stovall.

At 11:30am, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 163.16 points, or 0.63%, at 25,869.25 and the S&P 500 was up 8.40 points, or 0.27%, at 3,160.45. The Nasdaq Composite was down 14.12 points, or 0.13%, at 10,533.63.

Carnival Corp jumped 9.4% after the cruise line operator said it was planning to resume operations in a phased manner and would operate with a smaller fleet on its return. Netflix Inc rose 3.6% after Goldman Sachs hiked its price target on the video streaming service’s shares.


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