Higher Gains for Europe, Economic Data Impress

January 29, 2020 | Wednesday



On Wednesday, European stock markets went higher, supported by a strong close on Wall Street overnight. Also, several better-than-expected earnings and economic data both in Europe and stateside helped. In addition to that, the U.K.'s FTSE index was trading 10 points or 0.1% more. France's CAC 40 went up by 16 points or 0.3%, while the DAX rose 2 points or 0.1%. And the Euro Stoxx 50 index traded 8 points or 0.2% higher. Then, leading the way in Europe was the banking sector. They got help from strong numbers from Santander. The Spanish lender took a hit from payment protection claims in the U.K. But it posted a higher quarterly net profit, fueled by a solid underlying performance in its primary market Brazil. Also, Santander's shares gained 4%, boosting the bank index up 0.5%, the most among the leading European subsectors. Shares in Novartis climbed 1.4%. And this was due to Swiss multinational pharmaceutical firm guided growth in both sales and profit in 2020, introducing new medicines. Aside from these solid earnings releases, economic data also gave a surprise to the upside. French consumer confidence pushed higher by 1.9% from a year earlier, its highest since November 2018.

The China Virus

Meanwhile, the death toll from the outbreak of the coronavirus in China reached 132 people, with nearly 6,000 infected. As of now, Chinese authorities have shut down transport systems in and out of Wuhan, the place where the virus first emerged. They also closed at least ten other cities, quarantining millions of people. With that, the S&P 500 rose 1%. Then, the NASDAQ Composite went higher by 1.4%. Dow Jones also increased 0.7%, rebounding from the worst daily drop in four months on Monday. Furthermore, in the U.S., a lot of eyes will be going to Facebook. They expect the online social media and social networking service to post earnings growth of 6.2%. Also, Goldman Sachs will be in the center of attention as the banking giant offers up its first-ever investor day. Tesla, on the other hand, is due to report its earnings too. The Federal Reserve recently concludes its two-day policy-setting meeting Wednesday. And it will reveal its decision in a policy meeting statement, with the chairman having a press conference after. Moreover, a lot of people are expecting that the Fed will keep interest rates steady after December forecasts showing no change in 2020. Also, some assume that it would reinforce the signal that policy is on hold.


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