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European stock markets edged up on Thursday morning as investors absorbed more corporate reports and awaited the Bank of England’s important monetary policy announcement. The Stoxx 600 index rose 0.3 percent in early trade, with technology companies up 0.9 percent and basic resources down 1.3 percent.
Despite uncertainties about Chinese policy and the rapid spread of Covid-19 infections in the area, Asia-Pacific stocks held on to their recent gains in Thursday’s early trading. In early premarket trade in the United States, stock futures were barely changed as investors awaited more corporate earnings and the Labor Department’s official jobs report on Friday. On the data front in Europe, final PMI (buying managers’ index) readings released on Wednesday revealed that eurozone business activity grew at its quickest rate in 15 years in July.
The Bank of England will announce its monetary policy decision on Thursday, which will be closely watched by investors. Despite steady recovery from epidemic lows in the United Kingdom and a return in inflation, the bank is anticipated to maintain its large stimulus package. Siemens, Adidas, Merck, Bayer, Intesa Sanpaolo, and WPP were among the big names reporting earnings on Wednesday, which continued to guide mood in Europe. On the heels of rising demand for lab equipment and supplies for developing Covid-19 medicines and vaccines, pharmaceutical firm Merck KGaA saw its second-quarter profits exceed expectations. Merck’s stock increased by 3.6%.
Credit Agricole’s profit for the period more than quadrupled, to 1.97 billion euros ($2.33 billion), up from 954 million euros at the same time the previous year. Government economic stimulus programs and lower pandemic-related costs for bad loans are credited with the increase. The stock of Credit Agricole fell 1.2 percent. Eurofins, a diagnostics company, led the Stoxx 600 index higher in early trade after announcing record first-half earnings and improving its full-year estimate.
After the release of its results, German e-commerce business Zalando fell 8.4% to the bottom of the European blue-chip index.
Story By: Norvisi Mawunyegah