May 5, 2020 / 9:08 AM / a month ago

LIVE MARKETS-Hellofresh leads a 'risk-on' morning

Welcome to the home for real-time coverage of European equity markets brought to you by Reuters stocks reporters. You can share your thoughts with Thyagaraju Adinarayan (thyagaraju.adinarayan@thomsonreuters.com), Joice Alves (joice.alves@thomsonreuters.com) and Julien Ponthus (julien.ponthus@thomsonreuters.com) in London and Stefano Rebaudo (stefano.rebaudo@thomsonreuters.com) in Milan.

HELLOFRESH LEADS A ‘RISK-ON’ MORNING (0734 GMT)

It’s rare to get a guidance upgrade these days and that sure gave a boost to Hellofresh which led the STOXX 600 at the open even if it gradually lost a bit of steam.

The German meal-kit delivery firm is still currently up over 6% in what is a clearly ‘risk-on’ morning session: oil and gas, miners, banks, autos, travel and leisure are all having a good day so far. Oil prices on the rise again is helping sentiment and so is optimism towards lockdowns being progressively eased.

All regional bourses are well in the black.

Other winners following their trading updates include Pandora, Total, Siemens Health or BNP Paribas, all up 4% and 7%.

One of the big loser however is Ambu B which is down 6.4% after its results.

Here’s what a coronavirus ‘risk-on’ morning session looks like:

(Julien Ponthus)

ON THE RADAR: GUESS WHO RAISED THEIR OUTLOOK? (0656 GMT)

These busy earnings mornings often feel the same these days with companies queuing up to announce profits declines, dividend cuts and outlooks being scrapped.

But there are always exceptions, like this morning with German meal-kit delivery firm HelloFresh raising its 2020 guidance on Tuesday thanks to a lockdown boost!

While Shell cutting its dividend was a major blow last week in the oil segment, French major Total’s kept its dividend pay-out stable despite reporting a sharp fall in Q1 net adjusted profit.

Another good surprise was Danish jewellery maker Pandora whose Q1 operating profit was slightly above forecasts.

Also, M&A is not completely dead with Swedish cloud computing services provider Sinch AB agreeing to acquire SAP Digital Interconnect, a unit of SAP for 225 million euros.

Now for the usual bad news and gloomy reports with these headline - ‘UK new car sales fall to lowest level since 1946’ and ‘Ryanair passengers down by 99.6% in April’ - setting the tone quite nicely.

In the banking sector, BNP, like Socgen last week, announced a hit from equity derivatives.

It also set aside half a billion euros in loan provisions and warned that its 2020 net income could be about 15% to 20% lower than in 2019.

News from the frontline of the economic crisis is dire with staffing firm Adecco said the situation worsened in April (shut down factories and offices don’t need temporary workers) as it reported a reported a first quarter loss and halted its share buyback.

To give you an idea of what staffing companies are facing, UK tax authorities said on Monday that around a quarter of employees in Britain have been furloughed.

Anyhow, warnings that Q2 will be way worse than Q1 is quite a trend this morning.

Oakley and Ray-Ban maker EssilorLuxottica warned about an even bigger hit to sales in Q2 after a slump in Q1. So did German fashion house Hugo Boss.

Even Siemens Healthineers, in the promising medical imaging and diagnostics sector, had to abandon its profit guidance after reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings.

Another company scrapping its outlook was Swiss industrial group OC Oerlikon which slashed 800 jobs.

There’s also a very interesting development for France’s corporate governance culture with activist investor Amber Capital trying to revamp media and publishing firm Lagardere’s at the AGM today.

(Julien Ponthus)

A MASSIVE ASYMMETRICAL RISK CALLED KARLSRUHE (0545 GMT)

Germany’s constitutional court will rule today on the legality of the ECB’s bond purchases. Many won’t notice if the judges, as expected, don’t stand in the way of a scheme credited with keeping the euro zone afloat during crises including the coronavirus pandemic.

But the scale of the market shock which would be triggered by the Karlsruhe court ordering the Bundesbank not to take part in new purchases is anyone’s guess.

“We would see unprecedented political, financial and economic turmoil – in the middle of the pandemic”, UniCredit economist Erik Nielsen argued in this story:

German court to rule on existential challenge to ECB’s bond purchases

(Julien Ponthus)

MORNING CALL: LIKE IT OR NOT, IT’S UP! (0525 GMT)

Many believe this bear rally will crumble in the face of the macro gloom building up in the ‘real world’ as you can read here:

Massive U.S. stock bounce stokes doubts, provokes bears

But in the meantime, it’s still very much in play, fuelled by the hopes that economies will improve gradually as lockdowns are progressively eased.

European futures are up about 1.5% at the moment, tracking rises in Asia and on Wall Street as we head into another busy Q1 earnings day.

A good gauge of this positive sentiment this morning is provided by oil prices which are on the rise once again.

(Julien Ponthus)

Reporting by Thyagaraju Adinarayan, Joice Alves, Julien Ponthus and Stefano Rebaudo

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