European stocks close higher as earnings ramp up; Watches of Switzerland down 36%

Jenni Reid
Holly Ellyatt

This is CNBC's live blog covering European markets.

European markets closed higher Thursday, as investors continue to monitor news and comments from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

The Stoxx 600 index was up 0.57% by the close, coming off the back of three negative sessions. Travel stocks rallied 5% as utilities fell 0.7%.

Watches of Switzerland plunged more than 36% after the British luxury watch retailer cut its guidance for the 2024 fiscal year.

European markets

TICKERCOMPANYPRICECHANGE%CHANGE
.FTSEFTSE 1007,842.05-123.48-1.55%
.GDAXIDAX17,821.31-205.27-1.14%
.FCHICAC 40 Index7,946.77-98.34-1.22%
.FTMIBFTSE MIB 33,501.73-452.55-1.33%
.IBEXIBEX 35 Idx10,560.10-127.10-1.19%

A number of European central bank officials at Davos have been hawkish about interest rate cuts, warning that despite progress tackling inflation, markets have gotten ahead of themselves in terms of expectations for spring rate cuts.

See all our online coverage here.

Thu, Jan 18 2024 9:20 AM EST

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Thu, Jan 18 2024 7:03 AM EST

Stocks on the move: Flutter Ent, Richemont up; Watches of Switzerland down

Several stocks made big moves on Thursday, as earnings and trading updates rolled in.

Watches of Switzerland dropped more than 30% after cutting its guidance for the 2024 fiscal year. The British retailer said it saw volatile trade in the pre-Christmas period, and that a challenging macro environment was impacting luxury spending.

In better news for the luxury sector, Switzerland's Richemont was up 10.2%. The firm reported record quarterly sales and higher China volumes in the fourth quarter.

Oil and gas firm Harbour Energy was lower by 8.2% at 11:43% in London, after reporting a fall in annual revenue in an unaudited operations update.

At the top end of the Stoxx 600 index, gambling company Flutter Entertainment rose 13%, as it flagged higher revenue and said its New York listing was on track for Jan. 29, 2024.

— Jenni Reid

Thu, Jan 18 2024 5:20 AM EST

Red Sea attacks weighing on WTO goods trade sentiment, organization’s chief says

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, director general of the World Trade Organization (WTO), told CNBC that attacks on vessels in the Red Sea had made the body "slightly less optimistic" on its goods trade forecast for 2024.

The Houthis, an Iran-backed militia group, have been attacking vessels in the region since November, causing many ships to re-route.

"The fact that container shipping has had to divert and the higher costs are weighing on our sentiment with respect to what will happen with goods trade this year," she said, speaking at the World Trade Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

In October, the WTO projected 3.3% trade growth for this year, up from an expected growth of 0.8% in 2023. 

Okonjo-Iweala said the "prospect of maybe a wider spread of the conflict is also very concerning." She added that the downgrading of global GDP (gross domestic product) forecasts also impacted trade because it "hits aggregate demand all around." 

Despite the disruption in the Red Sea, Okonjo-Iweala said the WTO still expected trade growth numbers to be better this year than in 2023.  

— Vicky McKeever

Thu, Jan 18 2024 2:37 AM EST

Barclays CEO: 'I'm very optimistic on the UK'

Barclays CEO C.S. Venkatakrishnan said he is "very optimistic" about the outlook for the U.K. economy, speaking to CNBC at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

"I think the U.K. consumer is in very decent shape ... These pent-up savings have been getting eroded. On the other hand, it's a floating rate mortgage market, and a lot of the mortgage adjustment has happened, because the average term is about three years fixed and we've had about three years of rising rates," he said.

The typical products on offer to U.K. consumers are two-year and five-year mortgages.

"Energy prices have calmed down. So the two things that have hit the pocket book are coming down, and I will say I'm very optimistic on the U.K.," he added.

— Lucy Handley

Wed, Jan 17 2024 7:53 PM EST

CNBC Pro: These 14 cheap stocks are off to a great start in 2024, and Wall Street sees two jumping more than 30%

Stock markets have rallied over the past two months and near all-time highs.

Yet, shares in some companies are trading at steeper discounts than they have in recent history, presenting an opportunity for investors.

CNBC Pro screened the MSCI World Index and found 14 stocks that are trading cheaply with significant upside potential. Subscribers can read more here.

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9 Hours Ago

European markets: Here are the opening calls

European markets are set to open lower Tuesday.

The U.K.'s FTSE 100 index is expected to open 87 points lower at 7,888, Germany's DAX down 214 points at 17,784, France's CAC 96 points lower at 7,938 and Italy's FTSE MIB down 422 points at 32,870, according to data from IG. 

Earnings are set to come from Ericsson and LVMH. Germany's ZEW survey of economic sentiment will be released.

— Holly Ellyatt

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