European stocks closed slightly higher on Thursday as investors digested corporate earnings and the European Central Bank’s interest rate decision. The pan-European Euro Stoxx 600 provisionally closed up around 0.15%, with major bourses and sectors trending in different directions. Traders also followed the ECB interest rate decision and the subsequent press conference with President Christine Lagarde. The bank decided on Thursday to leave interest rates and its monetary policy stance unchanged despite ongoing inflationary pressures. Lagarde sought to downplay the chances of a rate hike in 2022, suggesting market participants may be going too far with their predictions.
The U.S. stock market hit record highs on Thursday as strong earnings from major companies boosted investor confidence. Shares of Ford stood out in particular, jumping 8.7% on their best day this year after the company reported a sensational profit while raising its outlook. The automaker said increased availability of semiconductors in the quarter allowed it to boost production.
Nearly half of the S&P 500 companies have now reported their third-quarter results, with the vast majority doing better than expected. GDP growth for the third quarter came in at 2.0%, below the 2.8% expected. This represents a slowdown from the 6.7% growth seen in the second quarter.
Stocks in the Asia-Pacific region were mixed this morning as investors watch shares of Apple suppliers following the tech giant’s sales miss. CEO Tim Cook said supply shortages for iPhones, iPads and Macs were bigger than expected. In early morning trading, shares of Alps Alpine slumped 5.9% in Japan, while Murata Manufacturing slipped 0.5%.
Apple sales miss expectations, Tim Cook says supply problems cost company $6 billion
Apple’s fourth-quarter revenue fell short of Wall Street expectations on Thursday, which Apple CEO Tim Cook attributed to unexpectedly severe supply shortages of iPhones, iPads and Macs. Still, Apple’s overall revenue rose 29% and each of its product categories grew on a year-over-year basis. Earnings per share came in at $1.24 versus estimates of $1.24. iPhone sales rose 47% year over year, but still came in below Wall Street estimates. Apple has not issued official guidance since the pandemic began, but Cook said Apple expects “solid revenue growth” in the December quarter compared with a year ago, though Cook said Apple will face major supply shortages higher than the $6 billion revenue loss in the September quarter.
Amazon misses earnings and revenue by wide margins
Shares of Amazon fell more than 4% in extended trading Thursday after the company reported weaker-than-expected third-quarter results and disappointing forecasts for the critical holiday season. Analysts polled by Refinitiv said earnings were $6.12 versus $8.92 a share, while revenue was $110.81 billion versus $111.6 billion. Amazon expects revenue growth to slow as consumers return to physical stores and the company faces supply chain challenges. Third-quarter sales rose 15%, compared with 37% growth in the same period a year earlier. For the fourth quarter, Amazon forecast revenue between $130 billion and $140 billion, representing growth between 4% and 12%. Analysts polled by FactSet expected revenue to rise 13.2% year over year to $142.1 billion.