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Volkswagen Group 2022 sales lowest in over a decade

The Volkswagen Group reported its lowest sales in more than a decade in 2022, according to Reuters, after the company contended with Covid-19 lockdowns in China and with supply chain challenges caused by the war in Ukraine.

The German group said Thursday it delivered 8.3 million vehicles to customers last year, down by 7% compared to 2021.

Weakening global economies and supply chain shortages will continue to cloud the outlook for 2023, according to extended executive sales committee member Hildegard Wortmann.

The sales figures put Volkswagen behind Toyota Group for a third year in a row in terms of production. The Japanese carmaker had already produced 9.5 million cars by November, according to Reuters.

— Hannah Ward-Glenton

European stocks hit highest level since April 2022

European stocks hit their highest level since April 2022 Thursday morning, with all sectors in positive territory.

The Stoxx 600 index was trading around 450.19 at 9:50 a.m. London time. Travel and leisure stocks led the gains, up 1.4%.

The autos, banks, retail and telecoms sectors were also trading over 1% higher.

Stocks on the move: Ubisoft down 21%, Logica down 14%, Centrica up 5%

Shares of French video game publisher Ubisoft plunged more than 21% in early trade after the company cut its revenue guidance, postponed the release of its new game “Skull & Bones” and cancelled three unannounced games.

Swiss computer peripherals company Logitech sank more than 14% after missing quarterly earnings expectations and cutting its sales outlook.

At the top of the European blue chip index, British gas owner Centrica climbed more than 5% after raising its full-year earnings forecast.

China’s consumer price index rises 1.8% in December

Inflation in China accelerated 1.8% in December compared with a year ago as food prices rose, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed.

“The prices of fresh vegetables and fresh fruits rose by 7.0% and 4.7%, respectively,” the report said.

The CPI figure was in line with Reuters’ expectations and higher than the previous month’s reading of 1.6%.

The reading was also flat with November’s, improving from a 0.2% decline.

China’s producer price index dipped 0.7% in December versus last year, worse than expectations of a 0.1% drop.

— Lee Ying Shan

CNBC Pro: Morgan Stanley names its ‘top pick’ in Chinese tech — and gives it over 70% upside

China’s tech sector has come under pressure in recent years, thanks to a regulatory crackdown and the fallout from the country’s zero-Covid policy.

But Wall Street is giving Chinese tech stocks some love again, and Morgan Stanley has named its “top pick” in the sector.

Pro subscribers can read more here.

— Zavier Ong

CNBC Pro: Morgan Stanley says these 3 firms take sustainability seriously — and have upside

As investments in sustainability take off, companies, too, are increasingly adopting sustainable practices.

Morgan Stanley has three European stock picks to help sustainability-focused investors. Those companies not only have solid ESG credentials, but also financial performance to boot.

Pro subscribers can read more here.

— Zavier Ong

Stocks close higher as investors gear up for Thursday’s inflation reading

Stocks finished higher Wednesday as investors optimistically positioned ahead of Thursday’s CPI report.

The Nasdaq Composite gained 1.8%, notching a four-day streak. A rally with that length has not been seen in the tech-heavy index since September.

The Dow ended up more than 260 points, or 0.8%.

The S&P 500 added 1.3%. All 11 of the broad index’s sectors ended the day up, led by real estate with a 3.6% gain.

— Alex Harring

European markets: Here are the opening calls

European markets are heading for a higher open Thursday as investors gear up for U.S. consumer price data for December.

The U.K.’s FTSE 100 index is expected to open 21 points higher at 7,746, Germany’s DAX 37 points higher at 14,985, France’s CAC up 22 points at 6,946 and Italy’s FTSE MIB up 36 points at 25,583, according to data from IG.

Earnings are set to come from Tesco, Marks & Spencer, ASOS and Persimmon. There are no major data releases in Europe.

— Holly Ellyatt

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