April 14, 2016 / 2:52 PM / 2 years ago

European stocks edge higher, led by Nestle and Ferrovial

(ADVISORY- Reuters plans to replace intra-day European and UK stock market reports with a Live Markets blog on Eikon - see cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?pageId=livemarkets for site in development. See the bottom of the report for more details) Adds details, updates prices)

* FTSEurofirst 300 rises 0.2 percent

* Nestle gains as sales growth beats expectations

* Burberry slumps after second-half sales fall

* Ferrovial top gainer after Exane upgrade

By Sudip Kar-Gupta and Danilo Masoni

LONDON/MILAN, April 14 (Reuters) - European shares climbed to their highest in a month on Thursday, with food company Nestle among the leading gainers after an upbeat earnings update and Ferrovial lifted by a broker upgrade.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index, which had risen 2.6 percent to close at its highest level since March 14 in the previous session, was up 0.2 percent at 1425 GMT.

The FTSEurofirst remains down around 6 percent since the start of 2016, as concerns about a China-led economic slowdown have hit world stock markets and commodity prices, given China’s role as a major consumer of oil and metals.

But oil prices rose slightly on Thursday, reversing initial losses, after the International Energy Agency trimmed its forecast for demand growth but said a fall in oil output in the United States was speeding up.

That helped shares in oil companies such as Total and Royal Dutch Shell turn higher and trade last up 0.6 percent and 0.7 percent respectively.

Nestle rose 2.1 percent as the food group confirmed its full-year outlook after first-quarter underlying sales growth beat expectations.

“Nestle has printed a decent number and consensus should nudge up. Given the disappointments of the last couple of quarters this is extremely encouraging,” Kepler Cheuvreux analyst Jon Cox said in an emailed comment.

Spanish infrastructure company Ferrovial rose 4 percent, the biggest gainer on the FTSEurofirst, helped by an upgrade to outperform from underperform from Exane BNP Paribas.

Burberry slumped 3.1 percent after the British luxury goods group reported a fall in second-half sales.

“Near term, Burberry has high exposure to weakest areas of luxury demand: 38 percent of global sales to Chinese customers versus 30 percent industry average, 27 percent sales exposure to U.S.,” Liberum said, keeping a “sell” rating on the stock.

Today’s European research round-up

ADVISORY- Reuters plans to replace intra-day European and UK stock market reports with a Live Markets blog on Eikon (see cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?pageId=livemarkets for site in development). In a real-time, multimedia format from 0600 London time through the 1630 closing bell, it will include the best of our market reporting, Stocks Buzz service, Eikon graphics, Reuters pictures, eye-catching research and market zeitgeist. Breaking news and dramatic market moves will continue to be alerted to all clients and we will continue to provide a short opening story and comprehensive closing reports.

If you have any thoughts, suggestions or feedback on this, please email mike.dolan@thomsonreuters.com.

Mike Dolan, Markets Editor EMEA. (Editing by Mark Heinrich and Mark Potter)

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