By Peter Nurse
Investing.com - European stock markets traded higher Wednesday, boosted by relatively dovish comments from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell as well as generally healthy corporate earnings.
European stocks have benefited from the strong gains on Wall Street overnight after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell struck a less hawkish tone than feared during a speech at the Economic Club of Washington D.C.
Powell stated that the U.S. was experiencing disinflation after a series of sharp interest rate hikes through 2022. While he also warned that further rate increases are still appropriate, investors have taken his comments optimistically as they look for signs that the Fed is getting close to pausing its rate increases.
Back in Europe, the quarterly earnings season has continued in full flow.
Societe Generale (EPA: SOGN ) stock fell 0.8% after France's third-biggest bank reported a 64% drop in annual profits in 2022, even while posting a higher-than-expected profit in the fourth quarter.
The lender also warned that it expects a year of "transition" in 2023 as the benefit of cheap funding from the European Central Bank falls away.
Equinor (OL: EQNR ) stock rose 6.6% after the Norwegian oil and gas producer posted a record $74.9 billion adjusted operating profit for 2022, more than double its previous record thanks to soaring gas prices.
Maersk (CSE: MAERSKb ) stock rose 2.5% after the shipping giant reported record earnings in 2022. The Danish company, however, warned lower container volumes and freight rates would drive a plunge in profits this year.
Barratt Developments (LON: BDEV ) stock rose 0.7% after the U.K.’s biggest housebuilder raised its guidance for full-year completions due to signs of improvement in the U.K. housing market in January.
Oil prices traded higher Wednesday, helped by bullish inventory data from the American Petroleum Institute , adding to recent gains on optimism over the recovery in demand from China, the largest crude importer in the world.
The industry group showed crude stocks fell by about 2.2 million barrels in the week ended Feb. 3, defying expectations of growth of 2.5 million barrels.
The official inventory data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration are due later in the session.
Add Chart to Comment
We encourage you to use comments to engage with users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind:
- Enrich the conversation
- Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed.
- Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically.
- Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases.
- NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and links within a comment will be removed
- Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user.
- Don’t Monopolize the Conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also believe strongly in giving everyone a chance to air their thoughts. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
- Only English comments will be allowed.
Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at Investing.com’s discretion.