LONDON European markets continued to rally on Friday after notching record highs the previous session, as global stocks take heart from strong U.S. economic data and recovery prospects.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 gained 0.7% by late morning, with autos adding 2% on the back of a bumper earnings report from Daimler, as all sectors and major bourses traded in positive territory.
The German automaker reported a surge in first-quarter earnings before interest and tax to 5 billion euros ($6 billion), compared to 719 million euros in the first three months of 2020. Daimler shares added 2.9% in early trade and led fellow carmakers higher across the continent.
Shares in Europe received a tepid handover from Asia-Pacific, where investors reacted to the release of Chinese economic data. First-quarter gross domestic product and March industrial production missed economist expectations, though GDP grew by a record 18.3%, while March retail sales topped projections.
Hopes of a swift global economic recovery were boosted Thursday by data showing U.S. retail sales jumped 9.8% in March, outstripping consensus expectations as additional stimulus sent consumer spending soaring. The Labor Department’s latest report on Thursday showed that U.S. jobless claims dropped last week to their lowest since March 2020, adding further upward momentum to stocks.
The positive surprises powered the Dow Jones Industrial Average above 34,000 points for the first time in history. Stock futures indicate a flat open on Wall Street Friday.
U.S. Treasury yields are back in focus after a sharp drop on Thursday confounded investors, despite the strong economic numbers. The benchmark 10-year Treasury yield was hovering around 1.5745% early Friday.
Euro zone inflation ramped up in March, Eurostat confirmed on Friday, with consumer prices across the bloc rising 0.9% month-on-month, driven primarily by services and energy.
In terms of individual share price movement, Finnish retail conglomerate Kesko jumped 4.6% after reporting 16.9% sales growth in March from the same period last year, while Austrian electricity company Verbund also added 4.6%
German meal-kit delivery firm Hellofresh gained 4.2% after a strong first-quarter earnings report.
British retailer WH Smith climbed 4.2% after RBC upgraded the stock to “outperform” and raised its target price.
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