Europe midday: Shares hold gains as German CPI less-than-feared
European stocks made a strong start to Thursday’s session as German inflation rose less than expected in January, providing a boost for hopes that the European Central Bank may be able to ease the pace of rate hikes, while Sweden lifted its benchmark rate to 3%.
The pan-regional Stoxx 600 index was up 0.96% at 1145 GMT with all major bourses higher. Germany’s DAX outperformed the broader market, up 1.27%. US futures indicated another positive start on Wall Street.
German inflation fell to 9.2%, according to official data released, lower than expected and down from the 9.6% recorded in December.
In Sweden, the Riksbank, or central bank, lifted rates by 0.5 percentage points to 3% as expected, saying inflation was “far too high and has continued to rise” with a warning that the policy rate “will probably be raised further during the spring”.
“Further, the Executive Board decided that the Riksbank will, with effect from April, sell government bonds to reduce asset holdings at a faster pace,” it added in a statement.
In another corporate earnings dump, Credit Suisse shares fell as the Swiss bank posted its worst annual loss since 2008 and warned of another "substantial" loss this year.
Credit Agricole gained as it posted a posted a higher-than-expected profit, driven by lower loan provisions and a strong performance at its investment banking division.
Unilever reported quarterly underlying sales growth above expectations and AstraZeneca posted fourth-quarter revenue just shy of analyst estimates.
GN Store Nord slumped after releasing fourth-quarter results, while Entain tumbled 10% after a Jefferies report pointed to MGM's chief executive officer saying the company had "moved on" from the gambling firm amid speculation of a takeover.
BT Group fell as Britain's telecoms regulator said it was investigating the impact of inflation-linked mid-contract price rises as many Britons struggled with surging phone and broadband bills.
Standard Chartered surged following a report that First Abu Dhabi Bank is pressing ahead with a potential offer for the bank.
Reporting by Frank Prenesti for Sharecast.com