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Jan. 23, 2013, 12:08 p.m. EST

Europe stocks rise ahead of U.S. debt vote

Mixed moves for major bourses; analysts lift Alcatel-Lucent, Nokia

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By Sara Sjolin, MarketWatch

LONDON (MarketWatch) — European stock markets ended a volatile day on a mostly upbeat note on Wednesday, as Unilever PLC and Novartis AG gave some reason for optimism, and investors awaited a key vote on the U.S. debt ceiling.

The Stoxx Europe 600 index /zigman2/quotes/210599654/delayed XX:SXXP -0.10% gained 0.2% to close at 288.22, after trading in tight ranges for most of the session.

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Google shares up as profit surges

Shares rose late Tuesday, after the search giant reported a higher fourth-quarter profit on strong online advertising sales. (Photo: AP.)

“There’s certainly a lack of conviction following a very strong start to the year,” said Richard Hunter, head of equities at Hargreaves Lansdown.

“We’re waiting for a positive catalyst and one of the things that could support markets is an improvement in corporate earnings. More positive voices coming of Europe could also help, and a similar positive catalyst could be progress on the debt ceiling in the U.S.,” he said.

Among notable movers in Europe, shares of Alcatel-Lucent  posted one of the biggest gains in the pan-European index, up 4.7%, after Citigroup lifted its rating on the telecom-equipment supplier to neutral from sell.

Also among the risers, shares of Unilever PLC /zigman2/quotes/204685760/composite UL +0.38% /zigman2/quotes/205449809/delayed UK:ULVR +0.74% picked up 3.1%, after the consumer-products major reported a 5.4% rise in full-year profit as sales accelerated. See: Unilever warns of 'intense competition'; profit up

In the same vein, shares of Novartis AG /zigman2/quotes/203286410/delayed CH:NOVN +0.14%  rallied 4.1%. The Swiss drug maker said profit rose but sales stagnated in the fourth quarter, adding that it expects to return to growth next year. Citigroup also upgraded Novartis to a buy rating from hold. See: Novartis expects return to growth next year

Assessing fourth-quarter results from the U.S. and the U.K. so far, Hunter called it a “mixed picture.”

“Expectations had been marked down, so there is a scope for companies to beat expectations, but analysts are also looking at the actual earnings and management comments. Guidances will be closely watched and we’ll be looking for comments on how companies will start putting their excess cash to work,” he said.

U.S. budget focus

For the broader stock markets, investors trained their attention on the next moves in what have been highly contentious U.S. deficit talks.

The House of Representatives was due to vote on raising the U.S. debt limit through the middle of May, while President Barack Obama was expected to sign such a bill if one is passed by Congress.


Shutterstock Enlarge Image
Drug maker Novartis puts out a well-received earnings report.

U.S. stocks traded mixed on Wall Street, but with tech stock getting a boost from better-than-expected earnings from Google Inc. /zigman2/quotes/205453964/composite GOOG +1.17%  and IBM Corp. /zigman2/quotes/203856914/composite IBM +0.73% issued late the prior day. See: Stocks gain on earnings, debt-ceiling vote

Apple may see its first quarterly earnings decline in 10 years when it reports results after the U.S. market close. See: Apple may see earnings drop, but outlook will be key.

/zigman2/quotes/210599654/delayed
XX : STOXX
355.51
-0.34 -0.10%
Volume: 0.00
Sept. 25, 2020 11:03p
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/zigman2/quotes/204685760/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 60.82
+0.23 +0.38%
Volume: 639,811
Sept. 25, 2020 4:00p
P/E Ratio
24.50
Dividend Yield
2.95%
Market Cap
$155.52 billion
Rev. per Employee
N/A
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/zigman2/quotes/205449809/delayed
UK : U.K.: London
4,763.00 p
+35.00 +0.74%
Volume: 1.14M
Sept. 25, 2020 4:35p
P/E Ratio
24.16
Dividend Yield
3.01%
Market Cap
£122.31 billion
Rev. per Employee
N/A
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/zigman2/quotes/203286410/delayed
CH : Switzerland: SWX
CHF 80.31
+0.11 +0.14%
Volume: 5.17M
Sept. 25, 2020 5:30p
P/E Ratio
26.22
Dividend Yield
3.67%
Market Cap
CHF176.82 billion
Rev. per Employee
CHF405,818
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/zigman2/quotes/205453964/composite
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
$ 1,444.96
+16.67 +1.17%
Volume: 1.32M
Sept. 25, 2020 4:00p
P/E Ratio
32.23
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$969.59 billion
Rev. per Employee
$1.39M
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/203856914/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 118.95
+0.86 +0.73%
Volume: 2.95M
Sept. 25, 2020 4:00p
P/E Ratio
13.50
Dividend Yield
5.48%
Market Cap
$105.17 billion
Rev. per Employee
$208,845
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