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Europe open: Shares follow bullish Wall St; StanChart soars on results

(Sharecast News) - European shares continued to rally on Friday after a bullish session on Wall Street overnight, with the benchmark Stoxx 600 nearing record highs again. The pan-regional index was up 0.16% to 495.91 in early deals with all major continental bourses higher.

"Spring is in the air, and American markets are certainly blooming this season. The S&P 500 closed up at record highs on Thursday, following Nvidia's blockbuster results, and broader optimism about AI and economic growth," said Hargreaves Lansdown analyst Sophie Lund-Yates.

"The tech-heavy Nasdaq was also unsurprisingly in on the action, and is within touching distance of its all-time high. While a lot of the excitement might be justified, we are entering the realms of frothiness, which of course increases risk."

"Latest figures show that the US market remains tight, which further muddies the picture for the Federal Reserve. Those banking on swift rate cuts are likely going to be disappointed."

In economic news, the German economy contracted by 0.3% on the quarter in the fourth quarter, according to data released on Friday by state statistics agency Destatis, in line with the initial estimate and consensus.

On the same quarter a year earlier, GDP shrank by 0.4%.

In equity news, shares in Standard Chartered gained 6% after the Asia-focused bank reported an 18% rise in annual pre-tax profits, lifted its dividend and announced a $1bn share buyback.

Lufthansa shares fell 4.5% as ongoing strikes over staff salaries weigh on the German airline.

Deutsche Telekom shares fell despite Europe's largest telecoms company lifting guidance and unveiling a €2bn buyback and higher dividends.

Reporting by Frank Prenesti for Sharecast.com

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Important information: This information is not a personal recommendation for any particular investment. If you are unsure about the suitability of an investment you should speak to one of Fidelity’s advisers or an authorised financial adviser of your choice. When you are thinking about investing in shares, it’s generally a good idea to consider holding them alongside other investments in a diversified portfolio of assets. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future returns.

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