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19 Feb 2021 | 08:26

Europe open: Shares edge ahead as Hermes results please investors

(Sharecast News) - European shares inched higher on Friday as investors digested more corporate earnings reports across the region and economic indicators as inflationary fears kept a lid on sentiment. The pan-European index was up 0.7% by 0850 GMT, with shares in luxury goods maker Hermes up 5.9% on a recovery in fourth quarter sales. Other bourses were mixed, with the UK's FTSE 100 down 0.2% after official data showed an 8.2% slump in retail sales as tighter nationwide coronavirus restrictions hammered department and clothing stores.

Separate figures showed the UK government borrowed another £8.8bn in January, less than the £24.5bn forecast by economists.

In other equity news, shares in luxury puffer jacket maker Moncler rose 6% as the company reported a recovery in the final quarter of 2020, rising by 8% and beating expectations as soaring revenues in China helped offset a decline in Europe and fallout from the pandemic.

NatWest was in the red after the bank said it was pulling out of the Republic of Ireland, reported a smaller-than-expected annual loss and restored its dividend

The lender swung to a £351m operating pre-tax loss for the year to the end of December from a £4.2bn profit a year earlier as income fell and it set aside more for bad debts during the pandemic. Analysts had on average expected a £418m annual loss.

French carmaker Renault fell 4.7% after posting a record annual loss of €8bn.
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