Europe Markets: European stocks hover at record highs, with BP leading the gains


European stocks were hovering at a record on Wednesday, with gains for energy companies such as BP and Royal Dutch Shell, which released a trading update.

The Stoxx Europe 600 index

was slightly lower at 435, following a 0.7% gain on Tuesday, which took it to a record close of 435.26.

The German DAX

was flat at 15,210.93, on the heels of its own record-setting finish of 15212.68, a gain of 0.7%. The French CAC

gained 0.2% and the FTSE 100 index

stood out with a 0.7% gain.

U.S. stock futures



were flat as investors waited for the minutes of the most recent Federal Open Market Committee meeting. On Tuesday, the S&P 500

finished 0.1% lower after setting a record intraday high, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average

closed down 0.3% and the Nasdaq Composite

finished modestly weaker.

Data out of Europe showed the final IHS Markit eurozone composite purchasing managers index revised up to 53.2 from a flash estimate of 52.5.

The survey indicates economies “weathered recent lockdowns far better than
many had expected, thanks to resurgent manufacturing growth and signs that social
distancing and mobility restrictions are having far less of an impact on service sector businesses than seen this time last year,” said Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit, in a press release.

Shares of Électricité de France

led the gainers with a 10% gain after Reuters reported that the French government will spend around €10 billion ($11.87 billion) buying out minority shareholders in a bid to restructure the utility.

Shares of Royal Dutch Shell


climbed 0.5%. The energy giant warned that a fierce winter storm that hit Texas in February would hurt its first-quarter adjusted earnings by $200 million in a trading update.

Shell said adjusted earnings for its upstream unit, which deals with exploration and the production of oil, are expected to be positive in the first quarter, “capturing the upside from the current commodity price environment.” But analysts at RBC Capital Markets said the first-quarter outlook was disappointing.

Shares of rival BP


climbed over 2%, continuing to gain from Tuesday after saying it would hit its net debt target almost a year earlier than expected. Those of Total


gained 1%.

Shares of Ryanair Holdings

fell 2%, after the discount airline trimmed its expectations for a fiscal 2021 loss, but also lowered its forecast for fiscal 2022 traffic, in part due to the slow rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations in Europe.

Société Générale

said it has entered into talks with French asset manager Amundi to sell asset-management activities operated by its Lyxor unit for €825 million ($979.6 million). The French bank’s shares rose 2%.

The banking sector as a whole was leading sector gains for the Stoxx 600, with shares of BNP Paribas

and Banco Santander


up 1% each.

Shares of Shop Apotheke Europe

rose 1%, after the Dutch-based online-pharmacy group’s sales for the first quarter grew as the number of active customers rose steeply on-year.

Shares of Carnival


climbed 4%, after a spokeswoman for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Jade Fulce, told Bloomberg on Tuesday that cruises could resume by midsummer on a restricted basis. That was after the U.S. Carnival arm threatened to take its ships to non-U.S. ports.


shares rose 3%, as unrestricted trading began with investors brushing off the food delivery company’s bleak initial public offering at the end of March. Shares of rival Just Eat Takeaway

rose nearly 5%.

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