Europe stocks close modestly higher, driven by earnings


European stocks ended Thursday slightly higher after a mixed trading session, supported by banks such as Commerzbank AG and Société Générale SA, which climbed after well-received earnings reports.

What are markets doing?

The Stoxx Europe 600














SXXP, +0.19%












 closed 0.2% higher at 367.08, adding on from Wednesday’s gain of 1.1%.

The U.K.’s FTSE 100














UKX, +0.33%












 gained 0.3% to close at 7,140.68.

Yet it wasn’t a good day for European stocks through and through. Germany’s DAX 30














DAX, -0.45%












 finished 0.5% lower at 11,527.32, while France’s CAC 40














PX1, -0.13%












 slipped to close 0.1% lower at 5,131.45.

Italy’s FTSE MIB Italy index














I945, -0.57%












 closed 0.6% lower at 19,429.14.

The euro














EURUSD, -0.5251%












 and British pound














GBPUSD, -0.4647%












 spent much of Thursday trading in a tight range but sold off as the U.S. dollar strengthened following the Federal Reserve’s policy statement.

One euro last bought $1.1358, down from $1.1488, while sterling fetched $1.3050 from $1.1326 late Wednesday in New York.

What is driving the market?

It was a mixed day in European stocks, as investors digested data showing that German exports fell unexpectedly, while a report from the European Commission also weighed some on sentiment after it said growth in the eurozone would slow from 2.1% in 2018 to 1.9% in 2019 and then 1.7% in 2020, weighed by trade worries, higher oil prices and general uncertainty.

Meanwhile, corporate earnings helped support stocks.

Investors were also looking ahead to the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy decision, which came in after the European close and yielded no change. The U.S. central bank indicated it was going to continue gradual interest rate hikes. A 25 basis point hike is expected in December.

What are strategists saying?

”It appears that investors are getting nervy ahead of the evening’s Fed statement. The central bank is expected to hold steady despite October’s bloody trading and the latest political reshuffle in the U.S., leaving an interest rate rise in December very much be on the cards,” said Connor Campbell, financial analyst at Spreadex.

Stock movers

Commerzbank AG














CBK, +4.07%












 shares closed more than 4% higher, after posting an earnings decline, but backed its 2018 outlook. Shares of Société Générale














GLE, +2.14%












 ended 2.1% higher after the French bank posted a 32% profit rise.

Rheinmetall AG














RHM, +4.16%












 rose 4.4% after strong earnings and adjusted guidance.

Coca-Cola HBC AG














CCH, +5.13%












 finished 4.2% higher after the bottling group said it remains upbeat on growth and posted a 2.6% revenue rise.

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