European Stocks Edge Higher; Corporate News in Focus | AFS Finance Group

European Stocks Edge Higher; Corporate News in Focus

Investing.com – European stock markets edged higher Wednesday, with investors largely pausing for breath after this week’s vaccine-inspired gains and focusing more on the corporate news cycle.

At 3:40 AM ET (0840 GMT), the DAX in Germany traded 0.1% higher, the CAC 40 in France rose 0.1%, while the U.K.’s FTSE index climbed 0.2%.

Global stock markets have responded positively this week to the news from U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) that the vaccine it is developing, in conjunction with German partner Biontech  (NASDAQ:BNTX), was more than 90 percent effective at preventing Covid-19.

In Europe, the DAX and the FTSE 100 indices are around 7% higher, while the CAC 40 has posted gains of over 10%.

“Investors will have a little more confidence that we are moving into an early-stage recovery cycle rather than teetering on the precipice of another double-dip,” said ING analyst Chris Turner, in a research note.

Still, the focus Wednesday has been more on corporate news. Mediaset (OTC:MDIUY) stock soared 7.2% after the Italian-based broadcaster reported a profit in the third quarter, with even advertising revenue rising, despite the pandemic hitting the media sector hard.

E.On (DE:EONGn) stock gained 0.5% after the German energy company reported a drop in third-quarter profit, but it also backed its full year outlook, citing a rapid market recovery.

On the flip side, Dutch bank ABN AMRO (AS:ABNd) stock dropped 5.7% as the management’s cautious outlook outweighed a solid beat on earnings, while German auto supplier Continental (DE:CONG) slid 2.1% as it warned of further restructuring expenses in the current quarter.

Aside from earnings, investors are looking to hear from European Central Bank president Christine Lagarde about the European economic outlook and stimulus prospects in a speech at 1300 GMT.

More than 300,000 people have died of Covid-19 across Europe, prompting many governments in the region to lock down their economies to try and prevent their well-equipped hospitals from collapsing under the strain. Recent measures have slowed the rate of infection growth, and Ireland – the first country to apply them – is already seeing its case numbers fall.

Oil prices pushed higher Wednesday, continuing the recent positive tone generated by Pfizer’s vaccine news, and helped further by an industry report showing that U.S. crude inventories fell by more than expected.

The American Petroleum Institute showed a draw of 5.147 million barrels of crude from last week’s stocks, as opposed to the 900,000-barrel draw expected. Crude oil supply data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration are due later in the day.

U.S. crude futures traded 2.5% higher at $42.41 a barrel, while the international benchmark Brent contract rose 2.4% to $44.64. Both contracts are up more than 10% this week.

Elsewhere, gold futures fell 0.1% to $1,875.30/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.2% lower at 1.1795.

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