Europe bounces again, but can we hold on this time?
After a bit of a wobble on the opening bell, Europe has found its feet to post gains for a second morning in a row ahead of a busy schedule this afternoon. Two auto makers in top gear helped the markets on their way, with both Volvo and Daimler posting surges in quarterly numbers, but the key will now be whether the bulls can hang onto what they have earned, with yesterday’s sharp reversal still fresh in their minds.
Rate announcements from both the BoE and ECB are unlikely to bring any big surprise, but the minutes will be closely monitored by investors, who will be hoping that Super Mario can provide a bit more clarity to keep the market on course.
After that we move on to a US Jobless report this afternoon that may provide the first clues as to what the all-important NFP numbers might have in stock for us tomorrow.
Imagination tech was the big mover on the opening bell, surging over 15% after extending a key licensing agreement with Apple. The stock has suffered in the last couple of months from the slowdown in the US tech giants’ product sales.
Astrazeneca stock headed lower on the open after 2014 forecasts painted a pretty miserable outlook for the drug maker. Investors are set to see earnings declines “in the teens”, hampered by the increasing headwinds of generic competition. Q4 sales also dropped short of estimates at $6.84bln vs a $6.88bln forecast. Any investors hanging on may have to be in it for the long run, with CEO Pascal Soriot reiterating a recent forecast that 2017 revenues would be broadly in line with 2013. Any turnaround will have to overcome a string of expiring patents by adding to a pipeline of new products which has become rather dry, although drug programmes in the 3rd phase of testing have doubled in the last year, providing some encouragement.
Enterprise inns also dropped sharply after like for like net income missed analyst expectations, albeit in line with its own forecasts. The firm has said it continues to improve the “quality of its estate”, winding down its flagging pubs and using the proceeds to invest in the better performers.
Compass group posted a 4% hike in Q1 revenues after holding firm in the US and seeing strong growth in Emerging Markets. The firm has seen revenues drop in Europe, but that has largely been part of a plan to scale back and improve profitability, and the firm has noted that it is now seeing signs of stabilization in Europe and Japan. The firm remains upbeat on forecasts as well, with a number of potential contracts on the horizon. The stock was very strong on the open but profit taking brought it near breakeven by mid-morning, which is becoming all the more common in the current environment.
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