European stocks closed higher Wednesday as investors prepared for the latest monetary policy announcement from the Federal Reserve. The pan-European Stoxx 600 provisionally ended 1.7% higher, with oil and gas stocks leading the gains, up more than 4%, while all sectors and major bourses were in positive territory. Among individual stocks, Swiss computer software maker Logitech was among the top gainers, up 6%, after receiving a series of buy and outperform ratings from analysts.
U.S. stocks gave up highs yesterday and Treasury bond yields rose after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said at a news conference that there was “quite a bit of room” to raise interest rates before it hurt the labor market. Powell also said rates could continue to rise because “inflation risks are still tilted to the upside.” The yield on 10-year Treasury bonds climbed above 1.8% after Powell’s comments, as traders assumed the central bank could tighten monetary policy more aggressively.
Markets in the Asia-Pacific region slipped this morning, as investors took into account the report released overnight by the U.S. Federal Reserve, which indicated that the central bank plans to raise interest rates as early as March. Samsung Electronics reported a 53% year-over-year increase in operating profit for the fourth quarter of 2021, but a 12% decline from the previous three months.
Tesla tops profit and revenue
Tesla reported fourth-quarter results Wednesday that were stronger than expected. Shares fell as much as 5% in extended trading Wednesday after the automaker warned that supply chain problems could last into 2022, but later recovered in slightly positive territory. Net income rose 760% to $2.32 billion and Tesla reported a gross margin of 27.4%, up from 26.6% in the previous quarter. “Our owned factories have been running below capacity for several quarters as the supply chain became the key limiting factor, which is likely to continue through 2022,” the company said in a shareholder deck. CEO Elon Musk said on the company’s conference call that he expects Tesla to remain “chip-limited” in 2022 and that the company will therefore not introduce any new vehicle models this year.
Intel reports better-than-expected results and gives optimistic guidance
Intel on Wednesday after the bell reported results for the fourth quarter ended Dec. 26, Wednesday. Shares fell as much as 3% in volatile extended trading before recovering. Intel expects first-quarter 2022 adjusted revenue of $18.3 billion, beating analysts’ expectations of $17.62 billion. Intel’s largest business unit, Client Computing Group, saw a 7% year-over-year decline to $10.1 billion, but still beat analysts’ average estimate of $9.6 billion, according to FactSet. Intel’s Data Center Group also beat expectations with a 20% increase in revenue to $7.3 billion, compared with the average estimate of $6.7 billion.