Investors Welcome Positive Start to US Earnings
A positive start to the U.S. corporate earnings season and a sharp improvement in China’s monthly trade helped boost world markets Thursday. The euro, meanwhile, jumped on news the European Central Bank decided not to cut interest rates.
Stock indexes rose after a handful of better-than-expected results from U.S. companies sparked gains on Wall Street. Consumer products maker Helen of Troy, whose brands include Dr. Scholl’s and Vidal Sassoon, reported a 15 percent profit increase. Electronic payments processor Global Payments said its fiscal second-quarter earnings rose nearly 15 percent, beating analyst expectations.
A rebound in trade figures for China, the world’s second-largest economy, also suggested a recovery in global demand, lifting investment sentiment. Export growth more than quadrupled in December from November’s level, to 14.1 percent. Imports rose 6 percent after failing to grow at all in November.
By midafternoon in Europe, Britain’s FTSE 100 was up 0.2 percent to 6,111.62 while Germany’s DAX rose 0.5 percent to 7,761.99. France’s CAC-40 was flat at 3,718.40.
Wall Street was also poised for gains. Dow Jones industrial futures rose 0.4 percent to 13,380 while S&P 500 futures added 0.5 percent to 1,462.80.
The euro jumped 1 percent to $1.3195 after the ECB left its interest rate at the record low of 0.75 percent and said it had not even considered the possibility of a cut. A currency’s value usually tracks expectations of interest rates.
In a press conference, ECB President Mario Draghi said the eurozone economy should start to grow again later this year. He added, however, that the region has yet to reach a turning point and that governments must press on with savings cuts.