European Stocks Close Higher On Positive Earnings News, Economic Data

(RTTNews) - European markets closed higher on Wednesday as some positive economic data and encouraging earnings announcements helped offset concerns about inflation and prompted investors to pick up stocks.

Gains in travel-related stocks following relaxation in Coronavirus restrictions, oil stocks' gains on higher crude prices, and expectations of additional economic stimulus in the U.S. contributed as well to the positive close in European markets.

The pan European Stoxx 600 gained 0.46%. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 advanced 0.5%, Germany's DAX climbed 0.8%, France's CAC 40 moved up 0.31% and Switzerland's SMI firmed up 1.12%.

Among other markets in Europe, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Finland, Ireland, Norway, Poland, Spain and Sweden closed with solid gains.

Greece, Netherlands and Portugal moved up marginally, while Denmark, Iceland, Russia and Turkey ended weak.

In the UK market, BP surged up nearly 5.5%. Rolls-Royce Holdings ended higher by about 5%, while Land Securities, IAG, Royal Dutch Shell, British Land Company, Barclays, Smith DS, Johnson Matthey, Ashtead Group, Smiths Group, BAE Systems, Melrose and Mondi gained 2 to 4.3%.

Lloyds Banking Group shares moved up after reporting stronger-than-expected pretax profit of 792 million pounds in its fourth quarter.

On the other hand, Vodafone, Rentokil, Experian, Unilever, Ocado Group, United Utilities, Segro and Pennon Group declined sharply. Reckitt Benckiser Group shares drifted lower after the company said it took a further 985 million-pound goodwill impairment on the infant formula business.

In the German market, MTU Aero Engines rallied nearly 6%, while Lufthansa, HeidelbergCement, Bayer, Deutsche Bank, Continental, Munich RE, BMW, BASF, Covestro and Allianz gained 1 to 3.5%.

Deutsche Wohnen, Vonovia and E.ON ended notably lower.

In France, Technip, Air France-KLM, Airbus Group, Accor, Credit Agricole, ArcelorMittal, Bouygues, BNP Paribas, Unibail Rodamco and Total closed sharply higher, while LOreal, LVMH, Dassault Systemes and Carrefour closed weak.

In economic news, the German economy grew more than initially estimated in the fourth quarter, revised data from Destatis showed.

Gross domestic product grew 0.3% sequentially in the fourth quarter instead of 0.1% estimated previously. However, this was much slower than the 8.5% rebound seen in the third quarter.

On a yearly basis, the decline in GDP slowed to 3.7% from 4%.

French manufacturing confidence improved marginally in February despite continuing health crisis, according to the statistical office Insee. The manufacturing confidence index rose less-than-expected to 97 in February from 96 in January. The expected level was 99.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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