Europe Closeout: Stocks Rise Following Latest Company Updates

European stocks ended in the green on Wednesday as upbeat corporate updates outweighed concerns over rising interest rates.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 index rose 0.23% to 480.90, adding to a sharp drop in the previous session. Yields on 10- and 5-year US Treasuries held near two-year highs overnight as worries about inflationary pressures hit sentiment again and in turn weighed on tech stocks world.

Mimicking recent movements in US Treasury yields earlier in the session, the benchmark German 10-year bond yield also rose above 0% on Wednesday, for the first time since May 2019.

In the UK, the FTSE 100 rose 0.35% to 7,589.66 after data from the Office of National Statistics showed that consumer price inflation rose from 5.1% in November to 5.4%, beating consensus expectations of 5.2% and well above the 2% target of the Bank of England.

The next policy meeting of the Bank of England will take place on February 3. At its last meeting in December, the Bank raised rates for the first time since the start of the Covid pandemic, by 15 basis points.

In stock news, luxury stocks were in demand after Cartier owner Richemont said strong demand for its jewelry and watches in the Americas and Europe helped quarterly sales rise by nearly a third.

British fashion retailer Burberry rallied after announcing a 5% increase in third-quarter revenue and raising its full-year profit forecast on the back of an acceleration in full-price sales. The company said revenue for the 13 weeks to December 25 was £723m from £688m.

Educational editor Pearson gained more than 4% by increasing its annual profit forecast, thanks to its assessment and qualification activity.

Home builder Nicholson Ridge and tour operator WH Smith were higher after well-received business updates, while the pub channel JD Wetherspoon ticked off despite the warning that it would tip over to an intermediate loss.

Mary I. Bruner