European benchmarks moved higher on Wednesday, buoyed by positive updates from big names including Volkwagen (VLKAY) .
In an unscheduled announcement, the car maker, which was laid low in its last financial year by an emissions scandal, said first-half profit came in significantly above market expectations, at €7.5 billion ($8.3 billion) before one-time costs. It reports results on July 28. The stock was recently up almost 6% in Frankfurt.
Indices extended gains in the course of the morning session. In Frankfurt the Dax was up 1.38% at 10,118.60 by early afternoon and in Paris the Cac 40 was up 1.20% at 4,382.30.
The FTSE 100 was up 0.27% at 6,715.64. BHP Billiton (BHP) - Get Report fell 2.5% in London after fourth-quarter output figures showed an iron ore shortfall and as it warned of up to $175 million of charges against profit in its second half. Anglo American fell 7.5%, leading the decliners on the benchmark index, as it trimmed expectations for full-year iron ore and copper output in its own production update.
Labor market data from the U.K. showed the unemployment rate unexpectedly fell to 4.9% in the three months to May, defying expectations for stagnation at 5% and falling below that mark for the first time in 11 years. Three-month wage growth accelerated to a pace of 2.3%, from 2%, as expected. The pound firmed 0.49% against the dollar to $1.3175 after the figures, reversing early losses.
Earlier, German producer price data supported expectations of a pickup in the country's very low rate of inflation, which is currently at 0.3%.
German producer prices came in better than expected in June, rising 0.4% on the month, unchanged from May and above the 0.2% anticipated. Prices declined 2.2% on the year, an improvement on the 2.7% decline in May and the 2.4% fall anticipated, according to Federal Statistical Office figures.
The data came before the European Central Bank meets tomorrow to set rates, with no changes expected despite worries about the turmoil unleashed by Brexit.
Semiconductor-industry equipment supplier ASML (ASML) - Get Report rose 2.3% in Amsterdam after reporting a 5.2% increase in second-quarter sales and good progress on orders for a new piece of machinery. But it also issued a third-quarter sales forecast that fell below expectations.
Remy Cointreau (REMYF) edged marginally lower in Paris after announcing a 2.1% slide in sales in its quiet first quarter, in line with expectations.
Hedge fund Man Group (MNGPF) fell close to 4% in London after announcing that CEO Manny Roman would move to Pimco and become CEO there.
Wizz Air pared initial gains to trade 2.5% higher in London after it announced strong quarterly revenue and passenger number growth. But it said it would rethink new capacity plans for the U.K. because of Brexit and focus on new routes outside Britain instead.
Italian banks were mixed. UniCredit (UNCFF) and Intesa SanPaolo both moved higher, as did UBI, but Monte dei Paschi, which the ECB recently order to cut its bad loans, slipped. Credit Suisse analysts conducted their own stress tests on the four and gave Intesa SanPaolo and UBI a clean bill of health but said UniCredit and Monte dei Paschi would need more capital.
In Tokyo the Nikkei 225 closed down 0.25% at 16,681.89 as Nintendo (NTDOY) plunged by almost 13% after days of gains driven by its mobile Pokemon game.
In Hong Kong the Hang Seng rose 0.97% to 21,882.48.
In mainland China the CSI 300 fell 0.3% to 3,237.60.