European stocks rose after the strong results of the “Richemont” group boosted the performance of the luxury goods sector, while investors are assessing inflation data in France and Spain, in search of indications about the European Central Bank’s plans to raise interest rates, while gold continues its losing streak for the third session in a row. At a time when the “Nikkei” index reached its highest level in a year and a half.
The European Stoxx 600 index rose 0.4 percent and is heading for slight positive results for the week as a whole. Shares of the luxury goods group Richemont jumped 5.5 percent to a record high, supported by results that exceeded expectations, after it boosted strong demand from Chinese consumers for jewelry and watches. Net profit and sales during the 12 months to March, and shares of other luxury goods companies such as Kering and LVMH increased by more than 1 percent.
Shares of the faltering Swedish real estate company “SBB”, whose shares fell recently due to debt concerns, rose by about 2.9 percent after selling most of its shares in the construction company “JM” for 2.8 Swedish crowns ($275.8 million), and it also rose. JM shares rose 2.6 percent, and French bank Societe Generale rose 0.3 percent after recording better-than-expected quarterly revenue.
Britain’s economy grows 0.1 percent in the first quarter
Meanwhile, data published by the Office of National Statistics in Britain showed that the country’s gross domestic product grew by about 0.1 percent in the first three months of 2023, a period that was expected to form part of a long recession, but the sharp and unexpected contraction by 0.3 in 100 in March showed that the recovery is still fragile.
The data shows that Britain’s economy is still 0.5 percent lower than it was in the last quarter of 2019 prior to the outbreak of the Corona epidemic, recording the lowest recovery among the economies of developed countries.
In addition, the Bank of England expected, yesterday, the growth of the British economy by 0.25 percent in 2023 as a whole, which is a slight increase, but it represents an improvement after the bank’s previous estimates indicated a contraction of 0.5 percent, and inflation in Britain exceeded 10 percent last March, which is what It is twice the rate of the United States and higher than that of the eurozone countries.
Japan’s Nikkei is at its highest level in a year and a half
In East Asia, the Japanese “Nikkei” index closed at the highest level in a year and a half, driven by gains made by major chip-related companies, amid investors welcoming local companies’ announcements of stock returns at the height of the financial results release season.
The Nikkei ended the session up 0.9 percent, recording 29,388.30 points, the highest close since November 2021, and the broader Topix index rose 0.64 percent to 2,096.39 points, recording a weekly increase of one percent.
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Commenting on this, Seichi Suzuki, chief stock market analyst at the Tokai Tokyo Research Institute, said, “The expectations of the companies’ business results were not necessarily all positive,” adding, “We saw some positive results, but we also witnessed disappointing results.”
“However, many companies announced share buybacks and other measures to grant returns and profits to shareholders, which boosted investor sentiment and provided support to the market,” he added.
The share of “Tokyo Electron” company compensated for its losses in early trading, to close up 3.21 percent, despite the fact that the leading Japanese company in the manufacture of semiconductor equipment warned that annual operating profits would come in less than expectations, and the share of its counterpart “Advantest Corp” increased 3.32 percent. However, the “Soft Bank” group violated the general trend, and its share declined by 3.68 percent, which put pressure on “Nikkei” after the company, which pumps investments in the field of technology, announced that it recorded annual losses that were almost three times more than market expectations.
Gold continues its losses for the third session
In the precious metals markets, gold prices are heading down for the third consecutive session, affected by the rise in bond yields and the dollar, but the yellow metal remained above the key level of $2,000 amid expectations of a rate cut at the end of the year.
Gold in spot transactions fell 0.6 percent to 2003.08 dollars an ounce, down 0.7 percent during the week, and US gold futures fell 0.7 percent to 2006.60 dollars.
On this, Lukman Otunga, senior research analyst at FXTM, said, “Gold’s losses were limited due to concerns about the issue of the US debt ceiling and continued concern about the country’s banking sector.”
Gold tends to achieve gains during times of economic or financial uncertainty as a safe haven, while low interest rates also increase demand for non-return assets, and markets are currently taking into account a 90 percent possibility that the Federal Reserve (the US central bank) will keep Interest rates are at their current level in June.
As for other precious metals, silver fell in spot transactions 1.6 percent to 23.78 dollars an ounce, platinum fell 1 percent to 1082.59 dollars, and palladium rose 0.8 percent to 1563.39 dollars.