European shares end April with gains as earnings boost outweighs bank slide

Defensive real estate, healthcare top monthly gainers

By Reuters

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Traders work at their desks in front of the DAX board at the Frankfurt stock exchange. The STOXX 600 index gained 0.6per cent adding 1.9per cent this month. — Reuters
Traders work at their desks in front of the DAX board at the Frankfurt stock exchange. The STOXX 600 index gained 0.6per cent adding 1.9per cent this month. — Reuters

Published: Fri 28 Apr 2023, 9:15 PM

European shares staged a late-day turnaround on Friday after upbeat earnings and a rise in oil stocks helped the main STOXX 600 index shrug off bleak euro zone data and a fall in bank stocks.

The STOXX 600 index gained 0.6 per cent adding 1.9per cent this month, driven by earnings following a turbulent month of March after the collapse of two US regional lenders and the Swiss state-sponsored rescue of Credit Suisse.

"The month is going out with some small upside for stocks, after a week in which earnings provided fresh good news," said Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at online trading platform IG.

"But the first week of the new month will be equally as busy as the one just finished, with more big names reporting plus rate decisions and job numbers. There are still plenty of potential hurdles to any further gains in stocks."

Defensive sectors such as real-estate and healthcare, rose 5.2 per cent and 4.7 per cent, respectively, outpacing major European sectors for the month. Tech and miners were the top two monthly decliners, down 4.7 per cent and 5.6 per cent.

For the day, oil & gas stocks led gains, adding nearly 2per cent as crude prices advanced, offsetting falls in bank shares that fell 1.4per cent.

British bank NatWest slumped 3.7 per cent after reporting a 20 billion pound fall in deposits in the first quarter. Still, London's FTSE 100 gained 3per cent in April, outpacing all major European peers.

Electrolux AB jumped 15.5 per cent after the Swedish home appliances maker posted first quarter sales and operating loss above market expectations.

Mercedes-Benz Group AG rose 0.7 per cent after the German automaker struck a slightly more optimistic tone alongside its first quarter results

German chemicals maker Covestro rose 8.5 per cent on an upbeat 2023 core earnings forecast and the resumption of a share buyback programme.

Swedish forestry company SCA gained 7.0 per cent after posting a smaller-than-expected fall in first-quarter core earnings.

Stocks fell earlier in the day after preliminary data showed the euro zone grew only marginally in the first three months of 2023 and at a rate lower than market expectations after stagnation at the end of last year.

"Data released on Friday confirmed that the euro-zone economy was broadly stagnant in Q4 and Q1," Jack Allen-Reynolds, deputy chief euro-zone economist at Capital Economics wrote in a note.

"Next week, April's inflation data are set to show that the core rate remained around its record high of 5.7 per cent, which we think will encourage the ECB to raise rates by 50bp on Thursday."


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