- European stocks posted modest gains on Wednesday as traders digested a slew of new economic data and watched the region’s covid stocks rise recently. The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed up 0.1% after choppy trading early in the session. Telecom stocks rose 1.2% to lead the gains, while auto stocks slipped 1.5%. European investors continue to monitor the acute covid crisis in the region this week, with more countries considering tighter restrictions and in some cases closures to curb rising infections.
- U.S. stocks edged higher on Wednesday as the recent surge in bond yields took a breather and tech stocks rallied. Shares of Facebook parent Meta rose 1.1%, supporting the Nasdaq, while Roku and Peloton each gained more than 2% after a bumpy start to the week. Shares of computer hardware company HP jumped 10.1% after the company reported higher-than-expected profit and a higher first-quarter earnings forecast.
- Stocks in the Asia-Pacific region were mixed today as investors reacted to the Bank of Korea’s interest rate decision. South Korea’s Kospi led losses in the region, slipping 0.5%. The Bank of Korea raised its benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points to 1%, a move widely expected by analysts in a Reuters poll. The South Korean central bank’s decision followed a similar move by the Reserve Bank of New Zealand on Wednesday.
Italy fines Apple and Amazon over Beats headphones
Italy’s competition authority has fined Amazon and Apple more than €200m (£168m) for allegedly breaching competition rules. The fine relates to Beats headphones, a brand Apple bought in 2014 for $3bn (£1.8bn at the time). A 2018 agreement between the tech giants stipulated that only selected resellers could sell the products on Amazon’s Italian website. Both Apple and Amazon said they would appeal the fines. The Italian competition authority said the two companies’ actions also violated European Union rules and affected price competition. It asked the two companies to lift the restrictions and grant access to resellers in a “non-discriminatory manner”.
Shares of Deere & Co. rise after earnings jump
Shares of the farm equipment maker rose about 5% after the company announced a better-than-expected quarterly profit. According to Refinitiv, Deere reported earnings of $4.12 per share for the most recent quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $3.90. Deere said solid demand for its products helped cushion the impact of a month-long labour strike. Revenue, however, was slightly below analysts’ forecasts.