European Markets Close Higher as Earnings Season Nears End; Credit Suisse Down 15%

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This is CNBC's live blog covering European markets.

European markets closed higher Thursday as investors weighed up the economic outlook and corporate earnings.

The Stoxx 600 index closed 0.6% higher, with most sectors and major bourses finishing in positive territory.

Industrials stocks led gains, up 1.7%. However bank Credit Suisse tumbled 15% after reporting a huge annual loss.

U.S. stocks also rose as investors took in more big corporate earnings reports, with Disney losing fewer subscribers than expected, while stocks in the Asia-Pacific closed mixed, as investors assessed risks of more interest rate hikes.

Earlier this week, Fed Chair Jerome Powell said inflation is easing, but rates could still rise. A number of Federal Reserve speakers reiterated the central bank is yet to be finished with its hiking cycle, including Fed Governor Christopher Waller, who said Wednesday that "we have farther to go" to fight inflation.

Elsewhere Wednesday, New York Fed President John Williams said that if financial conditions continue to loosen, the Federal Reserve could be forced to push interest rates higher than expected.

European stocks close higher

Europe's Stoxx 600 closed 0.65% higher as energy and industrials stocks gained, putting the index's 2023 rally back on course.

The U.K.'s FTSE 100 hit a record intraday high for the third time in a week and closed up 0.3%, at 7911.15 points. France's CAC 40 was up 0.95% and Germany's DAX was up 0.7%.

— Jenni Reid

Credit Suisse plunges 15% after reporting huge annual loss

Credit Suisse was down nearly 15% in late afternoon trade, at the bottom of the Stoxx 600 index.

This morning the bank reported a massive 7.3 billion Swiss francs ($7.9 billion) loss for 2022, worse than the 6.53 billion Swiss franc loss forecast by analysts.

It also said it expects a "substantial" loss this year as it carries out a strategic overhaul following multiple corporate failings. Read more here.

— Jenni Reid

U.S. stocks open up

U.S. stocks opened in the green, coming off a down Wednesday.

The Dow was up more than 200 points, or 0.7%, shortly after open. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite added 0.8% and 1%, respectively.

— Alex Harring

Unilever says further price increases to come; stock nudges higher

Consumer goods giant Unilever said it would further raise prises on its products in the first half of the year as it looks to repair its gross margin.

Existing price increases have only covered around 75% of the input cost inflation it has faced, according to the company.

CEO Alan Jope told CNBC: "We're very conscious that the consumer is squeezed, and to remain competitive we want to minimize the amount of pricing. I would characterize where we are right now as being past peak inflation but not yet at peak pricing ... there will be some modest fresh price increases still to come."

Unilever also reported underlying price growth for the fourth quarter at a record 13.3%, as underlying volumes fell 3.6%.

The stock was up 0.5% on the day in afternoon trade.

— Jenni Reid

Zurich Insurance CEO: Higher rates making market conditions more favorable

Mario Greco, CEO of Zurich Insurance, discusses the company's earnings and how macroeconomic conditions are affecting the business.

Stocks on the move: Sweco up 13%, Entain down 10%

Engineering consultancy Sweco tracked its best day in more than 14 years following upbeat fourth-quarter earnings results, according to Reuters.

Sweco gained 13% and topped the Stoxx 600 index after net sales for the quarter hit 6,732 million Swedish krona ($649 million) and the firm's EBITA (earnings before interest, taxes, and amortization) rose 30% year on year.

CEO Asa Bergman said higher average fees and a higher billing ratio had contributed to the gains.

Shares of Entain fell 10.1% after the CEO of MGM said Wednesday his company had "moved on" from the sports betting company following takeover speculation.

"We see a short-term negative Entain share price reaction given the prolonged period of discussion about the possibility of an MGM/Entain combination," analysts from Jeffries wrote in a note, Reuters reported.

— Hannah Ward-Glenton

Standard Chartered shares up 11% on Abu Dhabi takeover reports

Shares of British bank Standard Chartered jumped 11% on rumors of a potential takeover by First Abu Dhabi Bank.

FAB has completed due diligence on Standard Chartered as it explores a $35 billion offer, according to Bloomberg.

"Under the code name Silver-Foxtrot, officials at the Abu Dhabi bank are working under the radar on a possible bid once a cooling off period required by UK takeover rules elapses, according to people familiar with the matter," Bloomberg reported.

Standard Chartered refused to comment when contacted by CNBC.

— Hannah Ward-Glenton

Siemens raises sales and profit outlook on strong 2023 start

Siemens raised its sales and profit outlook for the rest of the year following a strong start to 2023.

Revenue for the first quarter increased 10% year on year to 18.1 billion euros ($19.44 billion).

The results are the German tech company's best ever start to a financial year, according to CEO Roland Busch.

"Our revenue grew by 8%, for digital industries and smart infrastructure revenue grew by 15%, and we have a record high order backlog of 102 billion [euros], and profitability came in strong too," Busch told CNBC, "so therefore we had the confidence to raise the guidance," he added.

— Hannah Ward-Glenton

CNBC Pro: Emerging markets are getting attention. Morgan Stanley names the 'highest quality' stocks to play it

Emerging markets could be a big winner for investors this year, according to Wall Street analysts. CNBC Pro takes a look at eight of Morgan Stanley's top picks.

Pro subscribers can read more here.

— Zavier Ong

Fed's Williams says looser financial conditions could imply higher interest rates

If financial conditions continue to loosen, the Federal Reserve could be forced to push interest rates higher than expected, New York Fed President John Williams said Wednesday.

By the Chicago Fed's measure, conditions are at their loosest since April 2022. That has come despite eight interest rate hikes from the central bank in its attempt to rein in inflation.

"If financial conditions ... loosened a lot or got much more supportive of growth, that would be a factor that would have to influence our thinking about the future path of the economy and what we need to do in terms of monetary policy in order to achieve our goal," Williams said during a Wall Street Journal roundtable.

Looser conditions "might might imply a higher interest rate to make sure that we're getting to the goals that we're trying to achieve," he added.

As things stand, he said projections in December of a fed funds rate in the 5%-5.5% range are probably accurate, implying increases of another 0.5 percentage point or so from the current level.

—Jeff Cox

CNBC Pro: Will the stock market rally last? Analysts share their predictions — and strategies

The tide seems to have turned since 2022 — markets have been rallying since the start of the year. But investors are wondering how long that will last.

But is this just a bear market rally or the start of a bull market?

Here's what the pros have to say.

CNBC Pro subscribers can read more here.

— Weizhen Tan

Fed Governor Waller on interest rate hikes: 'We have farther to go'

Fed Governor Christopher Waller on Wednesday talked tough on inflation, warning that the fight is not over and could result in higher interest rates than markets are anticipating.

Speaking to an agribusiness conference in Arkansas, Waller said the January jobs report, showing nonfarm payroll growth of 517,000, indicated that the employment market is "robust" and could fuel consumer spending that would maintain upward pressure on inflation.

Consequently, he said the Fed needs to maintain its current plan of action, which has seen eight interest rate hikes since March 2022.

"We are seeing that effort begin to pay off, but we have farther to go," Waller told the Arkansas State University Agribusiness Conference in prepared remarks. "And, it might be a long fight, with interest rates higher for longer than some are currently expecting. But I will not hesitate to do what is needed to get my job done."

The comments come a week after the rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee approved a quarter percentage point increase that took the benchmark borrowing rate to a target range of 4.5%-4.7%, the highest since October 2007.

— Jeff Cox

European markets: Here are the opening calls

European markets are heading for a positive open Thursday, with global investors gauging the global economic outlook.

The U.K.'s FTSE 100 index is expected to open 12 points higher at 7,895, Germany's DAX 77 points higher at 15,482, France's CAC up 21 points at 7,148 and Italy's FTSE MIB up 95 points at 27,299, according to data from IG.

Earnings come from Credit Suisse, Siemens, AstraZeneca, Unilever, L'Oreal and ArcelorMittal.

— Holly Ellyatt

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