LONDON May 4 A flurry of well-received earnings
updates boosted European shares on Thursday, with a positive
print from HSBC supporting financials while oil stocks
The pan-European STOXX 600 index was up 0.3
percent, holding near 20-month highs, while Germany's benchmark
DAX index rose 0.2 percent to hit a fresh all-time
European banks were top gainers, rising 1.3 percent
after lender HSBC jumped 3.4 percent. HSBC posted a
better-than-expected first-quarter profit and capital position.
Likewise a decision by the U.S. Federal Reserve to keep
interest rates on hold also helped the sector, as banks benefit
from a higher interest rate environment.
Oil & gas stocks were also firmer, up 1.1 percent
following robust updates from both Statoil and Royal
Dutch Shell, which rose 3 percent and 2.3 percent
Results also boosted shares in brewer AB InBev and
Austrian engineer Andritz, which were among top STOXX
British retailer Next was the biggest faller,
however, dropping more than 5 percent after cutting the top end
of its full-year profit guidance.
The first quarter earnings season has been strong for
European firms so far, 43 percent of which have reported
figures. Of those firms, around 74 percent have beaten earnings
expectations, while 82 percent have beaten on revenue according
to Thomson Reuters data.
(Reporting by Kit Rees, Editing by Helen Reid)