By Barbara Kollmeyer
European stocks joined in on a global bounce on Wednesday, as pressure on bond yields eased somewhat and investors went hunting for beaten-down names.
The Stoxx Europe 600 index /zigman2/quotes/210599654/delayed XX:SXXP +0.69% rose nearly 0.8% to 455.87, after a 2% drop on Tuesday, which was the biggest percentage decline since July 19. Even stronger gains were seen in France, where the CAC 40 /zigman2/quotes/210597958/delayed FR:PX1 +0.54% rose 1.1%, while the German DAX /zigman2/quotes/210597999/delayed DX:DAX +0.16% and FTSE 100 indexes /zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed UK:UKX +0.94% each rose 0.8%.
Surging bond yields and concerns that global central banks, led by the Federal Reserve, were ready to start putting the brakes on accommodative policies put in place due to the pandemic, took a toll on global markets on Tuesday. U.S. stocks were modestly higher on Wednesday, led by the Nasdaq Composite /zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime COMP +1.88% .
As Treasury bonds eased back slightly on Wednesday, European bonds followed suit, with the yield on the 10-year German bund /zigman2/quotes/211347112/realtime BX:TMBMKDE-10Y +5.56% dipping one basis point to -0.21%.
Some tech stocks that bore the brunt of Tuesday’s selling were leading on the upside. The top Stoxx 600 gainer was ASM International /zigman2/quotes/201180544/delayed NL:ASM +2.30% , with shares up 6%, on the heels of a 4% drop. On Tuesday, the semiconductor equipment maker hosted an investor day and said order intake in the third quarter was expected to exceed previous guidance.
ASM said it’s targeting revenue of €2.8 to €3.4 billion ($3.2 billion to $3.9 billion) by 2025, gross margins of 46%-50% in 2021-2025, and operating margins of 26%-31% in 2021-2025. ASM is also aiming for zero net emissions by 2035 and 100% renewable electricity by 2024.
And shares of ASML Holding /zigman2/quotes/210293876/composite ASML +4.22% /zigman2/quotes/206208657/delayed NL:ASML +2.80% , up 1% after the chip maker also lifted guidance, saying it expects to reach annual revenue of between €24 billion and €30 billion ($28.04 billion and $35.05 billion) with a gross margin of between 54% and 56% in 2025. The company also plans to continue returning money to shareholders via dividends and buybacks.
Another big gainer was AstraZeneca /zigman2/quotes/203048482/delayed UK:AZN -0.52% /zigman2/quotes/200304487/composite AZN -1.86% , with those shares up 3.8% The U.K. pharmaceutical group said it would acquire the rest of rare-disease biopharmaceutical Caelum Biosciences Inc. for $150 million. Caelum is developing an antibody used to treat light chain amyloidosis, a disease that causes significant organ damage and failure, and a survival time of 18 months from diagnosis.
Energy companies were giving back some of the prior session’s strong gains as oil prices eased. Shares of BP /zigman2/quotes/207305210/composite BP +0.85% /zigman2/quotes/202286639/delayed UK:BP +3.16% , Royal Dutch Shell /zigman2/quotes/206428183/delayed UK:RDSA +2.48% /zigman2/quotes/205095589/composite RDS.A +0.90% were down just under 1% and TotalEnergies /zigman2/quotes/206172043/delayed FR:TTE +1.65% shares fell 2%.
Royal Mail shares /zigman2/quotes/204213037/delayed UK:RMG -1.07% led the decliners with a 7% drop, after a downgrade to sell from buy at UBS. A team of analysts led by Cristian Nedelcu said they expect higher operating expenditure cost pressures for the postal service group, just as pricing power within the industry is set to decline.