Europe Markets

European markets close slightly higher as investors focus on earnings

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Key Points
  • Investors are bracing for a busy week of economic events and data in the U.S. this coming week.
  • Some of the largest companies in the world are scheduled to publish results including Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Alphabet.
  • The U.S. Federal Reserve is holding a monetary policy meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday.

LONDON — European stocks closed slightly higher on Monday as investors gear up for a busy week on the data and earnings front.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 provisionally ended the session up by about 0.3%, with banks jumping 2% to lead gains while the food and beverage sector slid 0.8%.

Investors are bracing for a busy week of economic events and data in the U.S. this coming week, with more U.S. corporate earnings due (some of the largest companies in the world are scheduled to publish results this week including AppleMicrosoftAmazon and Alphabet) as well as big data releases, including the latest gross domestic product data due Thursday and inflation data Friday.

In addition, the U.S. Federal Reserve is holding a monetary policy meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday, and market participants will be closely watching for clues on whether the central bank is nervous about the prospect of rising inflation. It has previously said it sees the pickup in prices as only temporary.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell will host a press conference Wednesday afternoon to discuss the Federal Open Market Committee's decision. U.S. stocks were slightly higher on Monday in anticipation of the busy week ahead.

Meanwhile, shares in major Asia-Pacific markets were also mixed at Monday's close as investors continue to watch the Covid situation in India. The country continues to battle a startling rise in new coronavirus infections. On Sunday, nearly 350,000 new daily infections were registered.

The Biden administration has said it will immediately make raw materials needed for India's coronavirus vaccine production available. The U.S. response comes after Britain, France and Germany also pledged aid to India over the weekend.

German business sentiment rose by less than expected in April, the Ifo Institute's business climate index revealed Monday, as a third wave of Covid-19 infections and industrial sector supply problems weighed on the recovery of Europe's largest economy.

Stocks on the move

On the earnings front, Philips reported a 74% jump in core earnings in the first quarter to 362 million euros ($438 million) and upgraded its earnings forecasts for 2021. However, the Dutch health tech company's shares slid 3.6% after a 250 million euro provision for risks in respiratory care devices.

At the bottom of the Stoxx 600, Swedish real estate firm Fabege fell more than 3.9% after reporting a first-quarter decline in property management profits.

British engineering firm IMI jumped over 11% to the top of the European blue chip index after raising its 2021 profit guidance. Compatriot food and beverage ingredients company Tate & Lyle climbed 5.9% after announcing that it is considering selling its commercial sweeteners unit.

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