European Bourses Close Higher Ahead of Fed Announcement, On Higher Earnings
European stocks closed higher on Wednesday as companies reported higher earnings and as investors looked forward to a policy announcement from the US Federal Reserve.
The European Commission is deferring the next stage of the infringement procedure it initiated against the UK over alleged breaches in the Brexit deal by unilaterally altering Northern Ireland trading arrangements, Reuters reported, citing a commission spokeswoman.
The UK requested a “standstill” in the course of the legal proceedings in order to renegotiate the Northern Ireland protocol, extend grace periods on trade between the UK and Northern Ireland and suspend EU legal action. The Commission acceded to the standstill period but declined the idea of renegotiating the Brexit treaty.
Meanwhile, starting Aug. 2, passengers from amber countries from Europe and the US who are fully vaccinated will be allowed to enter England without quarantine. Passengers will still be requested to fill a passenger locator form and have a PCR test before arrival. Travelers from the US will have to show proof of residency in the country. The only vaccines accepted are those approved by the European Medicines Agency, the US Food and Drug Administration and the Swiss vaccination program.
Britain’s average house prices in July rose 10.5% on a yearly basis, down from the 13.4% jump recorded in June, partly due to the change in the stamp duty relief, Nationwide Building Society said. The figure was lower than the consensus of 12.1% growth. On a monthly basis, the seasonally adjusted average house prices fell 0.5% in July, missing the 0.6% growth estimate, after a 0.7% rise in June.
On the corporate front, Barclays ((BA)RC.L) was up over 2% as it resumed its interim dividend after its half-year profit soared over 5x year over year. The British bank’s attributable net profit climbed to 3.81 billion pounds ($5.29 billion) from 695 million pounds, while EPS rose to 0.217 pound from 0.039 pound.
Rio Tinto’s (RIO.L) rose over 1% as profit for the first half rose from a year earlier, supported by higher prices for the company’s major commodities, the British miner said. The company said its first-half profit after tax attributable to owners was $12.31 billion, or $7.561 per share, up from $3.32 billion, or $2.036 per share, a year earlier. Consolidated sales revenue for the six-month period was $33.08 billion, up from $19.36 billion in the year-ago half. Meanwhile, Rio Tinto said it will pay a total interim dividend of $5.61 per share, corresponding to 75% of the company’s underlying earnings. The first-half dividend is higher than the $1.55 per share dividend from the first half of the previous year.