Europe ends up on earnings
Profits at Volkswagen, Schering cheer investors; tech stocks advance
LONDON (CNN) - Europe's bourses ended the week higher on Friday, as automaker Volkswagen and drugmaker Schering posted profits in line with expectations. |
Schering (FSCH) topped the gainers in Frankfurt, rising 4 percent. The No. 2 drug company in Germany posted a 26 percent rise in first-half net profit and forecast a rise of more than 19 percent in net income for the full year.
Volkswagen (FVOW), Europe's biggest automaker, rose 1.2 percent after saying profit grew 13 percent as international sales offset a decline in its domestic market. The company plans to beat last year's annual profits.
The stock performance of both companies pushed Frankfurt's benchmark Xetra Dax index up 1.7 percent to 5,769.35.
A handful of technology stocks rose, led by chip maker Infineon Technologies (FIFX), which ended 3.8 percent higher, ignoring U.S. telecom company JDS Uniphase's massive losses and bleak outlook.
Its stock climbed 3.8 percent after it announced plans on Thursday to axe 5,000 jobs, or 15 percent of its workforce, as it attempts to cope with an economic slowdown and waning demand from telecom companies for its chips.
Communication and engineering giant Siemens (FSIE), which owns 51 percent of Infineon, gained 2.9 percent.
London's FTSE 100, Europe's biggest bourse, closed 2.2 percent higher at 5,403.1, boosted by banks as investors anticipate more consolidation in the sector in Europe.
The UK's third-largest bank, Lloyds TSB (LLOY), posted a 9 percent rise in first-half operating profit, but the bottom line showed the company's earnings fell more than 12 percent. It ended the day 5.9 percent higher.
The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBOS) gained 4.3 percent, Barclays (BARC) advanced 1.7 percent and Halifax (HFX) climbed 3.5 percent.
Continental banks such as Deutsche Bank (FDBK) and HypoVereinsbank (FHVM), Germany's two largest banks, rose 1.6 percent and 2.6 percent respectively.
"We're excited about banks," Henk Potts, market strategist at Barclays Stockbrokers, told CNN. "This is very much a consolidation story. The government has told Lloyds TSB it cannot increase market share in the UK through consolidation. It now needs to look to Europe."
Tech and telecom stocks were the other top gainers with the usual suspects, telecoms equipment tester Spirent (SPT) leading the gainers, up 10.6 percent, software company CMG (CMG) up 9.5 percent and business telecom services company Colt Telecom (CTM) up 8.9 percent.
The world's biggest mobile phone operator, Vodafone (VOD), climbed 7.2 percent.
In Paris, the CAC 40 blue-chip index ended 2.6 percent higher at 4,967.15.
Europe's No. 4 telecom equipment maker, Alcatel (PCGE), ended 6.8 percent higher, while Europe's biggest chipmaker STMicroelectronics (PSTM) closed up by 6.5 percent.
Design software company Dassault Systemes (PDSY) was 5.4 percent higher and computer services company CAP Gemini (PCAP) rose 5.7 percent.
In Amsterdam, the AEX index climbed 1.5 percent as Europe's biggest consumer electronics company Philips Electronics rose 3.1 percent and the world's biggest supplier of chip making equipment ASML added 2.7 percent.
The SMI in Zurich rose 1.1 percent and Milan's MIB30 index was 1.4 percent higher.
The pan-European FTSE Eurotop 300, a broader index of the region's largest stocks, was up by nearly 2 percent, with the information technology sector rising more than 6 percent.
Two of its biggest components, Finland's Nokia and Sweden's Ericsson, climbed 6.3 percent and 8.7 percent respectively.
U.S. technology stocks struggled for direction Friday morning as investors digested the latest data about the economy along with mixed quarterly results from fiber-optic component maker JDS Uniphase and wireless technology developer Qualcomm.
Analysts said there was no fundamental reason for investors to start aggressively buying technology stocks and traders are expected to still dominate the near-term activity.
In mid-morning trade Friday, the Nasdaq composite index lost 5.52 to 2,017.44, while the Dow Jones industrial average shed 62.49 to 10,393.21.