European Stocks Higher, Bayer In Focus Amid Earnings Flood

European Markets opened higher on Thursday with investors overlooking some weak corporate earnings and outlooks after fresh reassurances from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell that monetary policy will stay loose for the imaginable future.

DAX traded 0.1% higher, CAC 40 rose 0.4% and the FTSE 100 index climbed 0.3%. The European earnings season was in full move Thursday, with a number of influential companies reporting results.

Anheuser Busch Inbev stock fell 5.2% after the world’s largest brewer warned higher input prices could squeeze margins this year.

Bayer stock fell 3.9% after the German pharmaceutical and chemical conglomerate posted a 78% fall in fourth-quarter net profit and cut its dividend by around one third, while Standard Chartered stock fell 4.7% after the U.K.-based bank reported a sharp drop in annual profit even as it restored its dividend.

On the other hand, Anglo American stock rose 4.4% after the mining giant enjoyed a strong end to 2020, helped by rising prices of key commodities, and AXA stock rose 2.2% after the French insurer proposed a dividend even as its 2020 earnings were hard hit by the pandemic.

Aston Martin stock soared 10% after the carmaker predicted a brighter 2021 after a deep loss in 2020 when it raised fresh funding and changed boss to cope with the year’s difficult conditions.

Global equities were uplifted by Fed chief Jerome Powell soothing fears that higher inflation rates could see the central bank tighten monetary policy, reiterating the central bank’s desire to get the U.S. economy back to full employment. This aggressive tone was matched Thursday by European Central Bank board member Isabel Schnabel, who stated in an interview that raising interest rates too sharply could jeopardize economic recovery.

German consumer confidence improved in March, as shoppers in Europe’s largest economy became more upbeat that a lockdown to contain the COVID-19 pandemic could be eased soon.