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European stock markets boosted by listed companies reporting strong earnings

European stock markets boosted by listed companies reporting strong earnings

Strong results from Credit Suisse and Unilever have helped boost European stock markets.

Stock markets across Europe rose today (23 July) after several major listed companies reported strong earnings figures.

There were early-morning gains for Germany's DAX, the FTSE 100 and France's CAC, as investors reacted positively to financial results from firms such as Unilever and Credit Suisse.

The markets largely remained in positive territory as the day progressed. According to Reuters, The CAC 40 and DAX were up by 0.27 per cent and 0.06 per cent respectively by 16:00 BST, although the FTSE had dipped slightly into negative territory - falling 0.01 per cent to 6,666.44 points.

In the three month to 30 June, net profit at Credit Suisse climbed to 1.1 billion Swiss francs (£739 million), exceeding analysts' expectations and causing its share price to surge to a high not seen since May last year.

The results are the first published under new chief executive Tidjane Thiam, who joined earlier this year from Prudential. Credit Suisse is keen to focus on the Asia Pacific market and is undergoing a strategy shift; moving from investment banking and focusing on providing financial services to high-wealth clients.

Unilever recorded similarly storing performance, posting financial results for the second quarter that surpassed industry predictions. Total turnover was up 2.9 per cent to €14.2 billion (£9.93 billion), while earnings per share climbed 16 per cent to 98 cents.

However, executives at the firm still expect full-year sales growth to fall within the two to four per cent target previously set, due to weaknesses of current markets. "Emerging markets continue to be subdued whilst in Europe and North America growth is negligible," the firm said in a statement.

There was also movement on the currency markets, with sterling rising against the dollar and the euro following the release of the minutes of the Monetary Policy Committee's July meeting.

The Financial Times reports that although the nine MPC members voted unanimously to keep the rate unchanged at 0.5 per cent, the minutes indicate that as many as three members could vote for a rise at the next meeting.

However, gains seen against the dollar earlier in the day were counteracted by an unexpected dip in UK retail sales data. Sales in June were down 0.2 per cent month-on-month, compared to the 0.4 per cent increase predicted in a Bloomberg poll.

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