LVMH Sales Beat, Shares Rise to 10-Year High


News of a very strong start to the year for French luxury goods giant LVMH has raised hopes that the world's super rich remain immune to economic downturn.

Louis Vuitton Store

First-quarter revenues at the maker of Louis Vuitton handbags and Moet Champagne rose by 11 percent, with demand in the US and Europe rebounding strongly.

LVMH shares rose 3.5 percent at one point, hitting their highest level in 10 years. The shares closed 1.5 percent higher at 90.05 euros.

The group's high-end jewelry and wine divisions have benefited from restocking and raised expectations for its rivals across the sector, which have yet to report.

In a note to clients, HSBC says there appears to be a perfect alignment of the stars at LVMH, with all its divisions outperforming.

Now much of this good news may already be priced in, given the stock's 70 percent rise in the last 12 months and HSBC rates the stock as neutral, telling clients it could have a similar performance in 2010 to 2004 and 2006 when it underperformed in a bull market.

Analysts at Bernstein where particularly pleased by the group's performance in emerging markets like Asia and the return to growth in the U.S. wholesale market.

Despite the strong first quarter, the management remains cautious given the "uncertainty of the strength of the economic recovery" and will keep a tight grip on costs.