European stock markets traded higher Wednesday, with positive corporate income more than counter balancing tighter German restrictions to fight the coronavirus. German DAX traded 0.6% higher, CAC 40 traded 0.6% higher, and the U.K.’s FTSE index climbed 0.2%.
ASML set the bar high by raising its dividend and launching a 6 billion euro buyback, in addition to posting a solid rise in profit and revenue in the fourth quarter. ASML stock rose 2.3%, and helped propel the whole sector higher, with the EURO STOXX Technology index climbing to an all-time high. IQE stock rose 3.4% and Germany’s Dialog Semiconductor rose 1.3%.
Richemont, a luxury retail, stock climbed 4% to its highest in 18 months, as growth in Asia helped drive 5% sales growth in its fiscal third quarter. Burberry stock rose 4.7% after an earnings update, while Hugo Boss stock added 4.6% after Mike Ashley-led Frasers said it boosted its stake in the company.
These updates have helped reduce the mood after Chancellor Angela Merkel and regional leaders agreed late Tuesday to tighten Germany’s coronavirus restrictions to check the spread of the disease. There have been some signs that the incidence of coronavirus cases has been lessening in Europe, but the Dutch government warned Tuesday of the likelihood of additional measures on top of the current lockdown in place until at least Feb. 9, while the U.K. and Portugal reported record number of deaths.
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte won a confidence vote in the upper house Senate on Tuesday, ensuring he stays in power after a junior partner quit his coalition last week, albeit without a solid majority in parliament.