Europe open: Shares edge ahead as Hermes results please investors
European shares inched higher on Friday as investors digested more corporate earnings reports across the region and economic indicators as inflationary fears kept a lid on sentiment.
The pan-European index was up 0.7% by 0850 GMT, with shares in luxury goods maker Hermes up 5.9% on a recovery in fourth quarter sales. Other bourses were mixed, with the UK's FTSE 100 down 0.2% after official data showed an 8.2% slump in retail sales as tighter nationwide coronavirus restrictions hammered department and clothing stores.
Separate figures showed the UK government borrowed another £8.8bn in January, less than the £24.5bn forecast by economists.
In other equity news, shares in luxury puffer jacket maker Moncler rose 6% as the company reported a recovery in the final quarter of 2020, rising by 8% and beating expectations as soaring revenues in China helped offset a decline in Europe and fallout from the pandemic.
NatWest was in the red after the bank said it was pulling out of the Republic of Ireland, reported a smaller-than-expected annual loss and restored its dividend
The lender swung to a £351m operating pre-tax loss for the year to the end of December from a £4.2bn profit a year earlier as income fell and it set aside more for bad debts during the pandemic. Analysts had on average expected a £418m annual loss.
French carmaker Renault fell 4.7% after posting a record annual loss of €8bn.