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European Shares Edge Up With Earnings In Focus

stockmarkets dec21 13jan21 lt

European stocks edged higher on Wednesday as gains in crude prices helped lift energy stocks and investors digested a slew of earnings reports.

The pan European Stoxx 600 edged up 0.2 percent to 409.38 after ending flat with a positive bias the previous day. The German DAX rose 0.2 percent, France's CAC 40 index gained half a percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 was up 0.1 percent.

BP Plc rose about 2 percent and Royal Dutch Shell gained 1.5 percent as oil received a boost from a weaker dollar to hover near 11-month highs.

Spectris declined 1.6 percent. The instrumentation company reported that its like-for-like sales in the fourth quarter decreased 7 percent.

Persimmon lost 2 percent. The housebuilder reported total Group revenues of 3.33 billion pounds in 2020, compared to 3.65 billion pounds, prior year.

Recruitment company PageGroup fell over 1 percent. The company reported fourth quarter Group gross profit of 165.5 million pounds, a decline of 20.2 percent in constant currencies year-on-year.

Online food delivery company Just Eat Takeaway.com N.V. slumped 4 percent after announcing it would delay its planned delisting from Euronext Amsterdam.

Danish wind farm developer Oersted lost 6.2 percent after a profit warning.

Spanish telecom company Telefonica surged 9 percent after it reached an agreement to sell its towers division Telxius to U.S. infrastructure giant American Towers Corporation.

French energy company Total SA rose 2.2 percent. The company said it has signed a cooperation agreement with natural gas and electricity supplier Engie SA to design, develop, build and operate the Masshylia project.

Carrefour shares surged 8.5 percent after Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc., the convenience-store giant that owns the Circle K chain, said it's exploring a transaction with the French grocer. Retailer Casino advanced 3.8 percent.

Deutsche Post AG shares gained 2.4 percent. The German courier company reported that its fourth-quarter preliminary group EBIT was about 1.960 billion euros, up 56 percent from last year.

Wind turbine manufacturer Nordex Group added 2.5 percent. The company announced that it has received a major order for a 518.7 MW wind farm project from Statkraft in Brazil.

In economic news, the French economy contracted in the final quarter of 2020 despite easing of the Covid-19 containment measures in December, the Bank of France said.

The bank said the economy shrank 4 percent sequentially in the fourth quarter, taking the annual fall for the whole year of 2020 to 9 percent, unchanged from the previous estimate.

In the third quarter, GDP grew 18.7 percent sequentially after the lifting of the containment measures.

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