LONDON — European stocks inched higher on Thursday morning as investors remain focused on earnings reports and developments on the coronavirus pandemic.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 hovered 0.2% above the flatline in early trade, with autos gaining 1% while household goods fell 0.6%.
The lackluster trade for European markets comes as investors remain focused on the latest earnings this quarter, with reports Thursday from Deutsche Bank, Unilever, Shell, Royal Mail, Infineon, BT, ABB, Roche, Dassault Systemes and Enel.
Reporting before the opening bell, Deutsche Bank beat earnings expectations for 2020 as it emerges from the coronavirus crisis, led by a strong performance in its investment banking division. Shares of Germany’s largest lender fell 1.6% in early trade, however.
Also reporting ahead of the market open, oil giant Royal Dutch Shell reported a sharp drop in full-year profit with the pandemic hitting demand, and taking a heavy toll on the global oil and gas industry. The company’s stock edged 0.3% higher.
U.K. investors will be keeping an eye on the Bank of England’s latest monetary policy decision on Thursday.
Global markets are also focused on earnings; U.S. futures contracts were slightly lower during the overnight session as Wall Street attempted to continue the S&P 500′s winning streak on Thursday. Investors watched a handful of stocks including eBay, PayPal and Qualcomm in extended trading after each issued a quarterly earnings report.
Meanwhile, shares in major Asia-Pacific markets slipped on Thursday, with South Korea leading the losses.
In terms of individual share price movement, French software firm Dassault Systemes climbed more than 5% in early trade, after forecasting a rise in 2021 revenues on the back of a strong performance for its clinical trials business.
Bayer shares climbed 4.5% in early trade after the German pharmaceutical giant reached a $2 billion deal to settle future compensation claims in the U.S. over cancers linked to its Roundup weedkiller, while Nordea Bank and OMV both climbed more than 4% after strong fourth-quarter earnings reports.
At the bottom of the European blue chip index, Unilever fell more than 4% after its results.