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25 Jan 2021 | 08:00

Europe open: Earnings help shares edge higher in subdued trade

(Sharecast News) - European shares were slightly higher on a subdued Monday morning, lifted by upbeat earnings reports as investors also eyed results from US tech heavyweights this week. The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.24% in early trade. Investor optimism was tempered by tougher lockdowns and the emergence of new strains of the coronavirus from South Africa and Brazil appearing in the UK and Germany respectively.

London's FTSE 100 was 0.22% lower as the government was atypically blunt about the date of any relaxation of lockdown measures.

"UK markets are reflecting the tone of its officials. The government has struck an unusually pessimistic tone over the last few days. Learning from past mistakes, ministers have refused to make promises about when the UK will come out of its current lockdown, including refusing to commit to schools opening post-Easter," said Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell.

"At the moment the day's Covid-led quiet is set to extend into the American session. The Dow Jones is heading for a 70 point rise this afternoon, one that would put it back above 31,050."

Apple, Microsoft and Facebook all have results out this week, along with American Express, Boeing, Tesla and McDonald's.

In equity news, Dutch technology investor Prosus led the gainers with a 6.39% rise, while compatriot Philips rose 2.3% as it reported a 7% increase in fourth-quarter core profit.

Shares in Siemens Energy rose after the company swung to a first quarter core profit.

On the downside, the lack of any vision on a recovery from the pandemic continued to batter travel stocks, with aircraft engine maker Rolls-Royce down 6.48%.

Budget carriers easyJet and Ryanair were both down by more than 5.5%, while cruise ship operator Carnival, holiday operator TUI, Trainline, Accor and Frankfurt airport operator Fraport were also in the red.
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