- European stock markets closed lower on Wednesday as U.S. Treasury yields briefly spiked and inflation concerns continued to weigh on global markets. The pan-European Stoxx 600 provisionally ended down 1%, with all sectors and major bourses in negative territory. Retail, auto, and travel and leisure stocks were among the top losers, down more than 2.5%. Among individual stocks in Europe, British grocery giant Tesco climbed nearly 6% after raising its outlook following strong half-year results.
- U.S. stocks staged a comeback Wednesday as investors looked optimistically toward a debt ceiling deal and invested in technology stocks. Stocks reversed course on news that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell would propose a short-term extension of the debt ceiling later Wednesday in a closed-door Republican meeting. This would help ease pressure on Congress to avoid a U.S. default, currently expected on Oct. 18. Investors bought the decline in some key technology stocks. Microsoft rose 1.5%, Amazon gained nearly 1.3% and Nvidia added 1.2%.
- Stocks in the Asia-Pacific region rose in early morning trading, with Hong Kong shares leading the gains. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 2.2% as shares of Chinese tech giants Tencent and Alibaba gained 3% and 4.44%, respectively. Markets in mainland China will remain closed Thursday for the holiday.
Levi Strauss sales rise thanks to new denim styles
Levi Strauss & Co. on Wednesday reported third-quarter profit and revenue that beat analysts’ expectations as consumer demand surged during the back-to-school season and shoppers stocked up on the latest denim trends. Net income rose to $193 million, or 47 cents a share, from $27 million, or 7 cents a share, a year earlier. Excluding one-time items, the company earned 48 cents per share. Analysts had expected earnings of 37 cents per share. Revenue rose 41% to $1.5 billion from $1.06 billion a year earlier. That slightly beat estimates of $1.48 billion.
Tesco defies supply problems and rising sales
Tesco’s group sales rose 5.9% year-on-year to £30.4bn in the first six months of the year. Operating profits rose 28% to £1.3bn in the period. Tesco’s sales rose 2.6% to £27.3bn in the first six months of the financial year, while like-for-like sales in the UK increased 1.2%, following a 0.5% rise in the first quarter.