By Barbara Kollmeyer
European stocks struggled for gains on Wednesday as investors absorbed a mixed bag of earnings from Société Générale, A.P. Moeller-Maersk and other corporates, while U.S. equity futures rose.
The Stoxx Europe 600 index /zigman2/quotes/210599654/delayed XX:SXXP -0.15% rose 0.3% to 411 after a modest decline on Tuesday. But the German DAX /zigman2/quotes/210597999/delayed DX:DAX -0.04% slipped 0.1% and the French CAC 40 /zigman2/quotes/210597958/delayed FR:PX1 +0.13% and FTSE 100 /zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed UK:UKX -0.38% were flat. Asian stocks had a robust session, with the China CSI 300 index /zigman2/quotes/210598128/delayed XX:000300 +0.81% surging 2% ahead of the start of the China Lunar New Year holiday.
On firmer footing were U.S. stock futures /zigman2/quotes/209948968/delayed ES00 -0.06% /zigman2/quotes/210407078/delayed YM00 +0.87% /zigman2/quotes/210219788/delayed NQ00 +1.51% , which pointed to a higher start for Wall Street following a lackluster session that saw the S&P 500 /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX +0.10% and Dow industrials /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA +0.13% each snap six-session winning streaks. The Nasdaq Composite /zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime COMP +0.29% eked out its 10th record close.
Investors are waiting for U.S. consumer prices data for January, with a speech coming as well from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell on the labor market. Data from Europe showed French industrial production falling for a second straight month in December, halting the recovery from the COVID-19-driven drop.
Among European stocks on the move, shares of Adyen /zigman2/quotes/205351021/delayed NL:ADYEN -1.30% led the Stoxx 600 gainers with a nearly 10% gain after the Dutch paints company reported higher net profit for the second half of 2020 and lifted its long-term earnings margin target.
Also near the top of the gainers list, shares of Société Générale /zigman2/quotes/206663756/delayed FR:GLE +1.64% rose around 3% after the French bank said it would launch a buyback in the fourth quarter , after net profit for the final quarter of 2020 fell less than expected and it also met guidance for 2020.
Shares of Smurfit Kappa /zigman2/quotes/201317005/delayed UK:SKG -0.40% rose over 3% after the paper-based packaging group reported higher pretax profit and lifted its final dividend.
On the downside, shares of A.P. Moeller-Maersk /zigman2/quotes/202892434/delayed DK:MAERSK.B +4.56% tumbled over 6%. The Danish shipping giant reported surging demand in the fourth quarter and spiking freight rates spiked due to bottlenecks across its supply chain that includes a lack of ships and containers.
Shares of Heineken /zigman2/quotes/205347870/delayed NL:HEIA -1.20% fell more than 2% after the Dutch brewer said it swung to a loss for 2020 due to pandemic effects, but laid out a target to restore its adjusted operating profit margin to around 17% by 2023. Heineken also said it expects improving market conditions in the second half of this year.
Dutch lender ABN Amro /zigman2/quotes/209088556/delayed NL:ABN -0.83% reported a sharp fall in fourth-quarter net profit for the fourth quarter due to COVID-19. Shares fell 2%.