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UK economy; FTSE 100; earnings

European stocks close higher

European stocks closed higher on Thursday as investors digested a a flurry of corporate earnings.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 provisionally ended 0.6% higher, with major bourses and almost all sectors in positive territory.

— Sam Meredith

There are early positive signals from the manufacturing sector, CIO says

There are early positive signals from the manufacturing sector, CIO says

Chris Wyllie, chief investment officer at Connor Broadley, weighs in on the outlook for economic growth and company valuations.

Airbus CEO on Boeing troubles: Customers are seeking reliability in the long-term

Our job is to deliver high quality and safe planes, Airbus CEO says

Airbus shares were 0.7% lower in early afternoon trade, after the world’s largest plane maker narrowly missed adjusted earnings forecasts for the fourth quarter and reported a  4% rise in full-year operating profit.

The Toulouse-based firm proposed an unchanged regular divided of 1.8 euros ($1.93) per share, along with a special divided of 1 euro per share.

Asked about whether the stack of recent issues at rival Boeing had given the company an edge, Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury told CNBC’s Charlotte Reed that aviation was a “long-term” industry.

“Given the strength of demand in the market, we have important backlogs… that’s really what drives our activity, not too much the short-term comparison with the other guys, but focusing on what we have to deliver,” he said.

“On the longer term, obviously customers are looking at the suppliers which are more reliable in delivery, what is expected of them, and we like to believe that we are improving and trying to do the right things.”

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Airbus share price.

China is not producing enough aluminum to meet its own demand, says Norsk Hydro CFO

Norsk Hydro is benefitting from high energy prices, tight aluminium markets, CFO says

Pål Kildemo, CFO of the Norwegian aluminum and renewable energy company, discusses its results and the global aluminum market.

Renault shares jump 7% after earnings

Renault CEO: EV pricing is challenging, but industry must 'fight' for the technology

Shares of Renault climbed in morning trade on Thursday, after the French carmaker said it would propose raising its dividend per share to 1.85 euros ($1.99) for the financial year, up from 0.25 euros previously.

Group CEO Luca de Meo told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Europe” Thursday that Renault’s guidance was “relatively prudent” and described the market as “challenging.”

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Renault share price.

“I think there will be a lot of pressure on EV, reduction of pricing that we already see since a few months… But we are also on the other side optimistic because we’ll be launching 10 models, basically one model every month, so we enter into a very favorable product lifecycle, including EV cars,” he said.

Read the full story here.

— Jenni Reid

High interest rates help Germany’s Commerzbank post best results in 15 years

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Commerzbank share price

Commerzbank on Thursday reported a 55% hike in net profit for 2023, as high interest rates helped the German banking giant report its best results in 15 years.

Net profit for the year beat expectations to come in at 2.2 billion euros ($2.36 billion), up from 1.4 billion euros a year earlier. For the fourth quarter, net profit was 395 million euros, down over 16% on the same quarter the year before, but ahead of consensus estimates published by Commerzbank.

Read the full story here.

— Katrina Bishop

UK economy slipped into technical recession

The U.K. economy slipped into a technical recession at the end of last year — gross domestic product figures showed that the economy contracted by 0.3% in the three months to December 2023.

That was worse than the 0.1% contraction expected by economists.

It followed a 0.1% fall in output during the previous quarter. Two consecutive quarters of contraction are widely viewed to indicate a technical recession.

Sterling lost earlier gains against the dollar after the news.

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U.K’s sterling against the U.S. dollar.

Europe stocks to open higher

European stocks were seen opening Thursday higher, according to IG data, with the FTSE 100 up 25 points to 7,569, Germany’s DAX up 43 points to 16,987, and France’s CAC up 21 points to 7,697.

Italy’s MIB was seen 77 points higher at 31,509.

— Jenni Reid

Japan’s fourth-quarter GDP shows surprise contraction

Flag of Japan on dark blue background. 3D render

Da-kuk | E+ | Getty Images

Japan’s economy shrank unexpectedly during the last quarter of 2023, according to government data.

Provisional gross domestic product contracted 0.4% in the fourth quarter compared with a year ago, after a revised 3.3% slump in the July-September period.

The reading was also much lower than a Reuters poll forecast of 1.4% growth.

Japan also contracted 0.1% quarter-over-quarter, after shrinking a revised 0.8% in the third quarter from the second.

For more, please read the full story.

— Shreyashi Sanyal, Clement Tan

Bitcoin hits over two-year high amid ‘favorable regulatory activity’

'Global convergence of favorable regulatory activity' is fueling crypto gains, says EY's Paul Brody

The total value invested in bitcoin surpassed $1 trillion on Wednesday reaching an over two-year high following the debut of bitcoin exchange-traded funds in the United States last month.

The price of ether, the world’s second-largest cryptocurrency by market cap, surpassed $2,700 to reach its highest level since May 2022, with investors expecting the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to greenlight spot ether ETFs this May.

“We have a global convergence of favorable regulatory activity, and what it’s doing is unblocking an enormous amount of institutional capital,” Paul Brody, global blockchain leader at Ernst & Young, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia” on Thursday.

“There’s $200 trillion of institutional capital that hasn’t been able to access these assets previously, and while these inflows aren’t going to happen overnight, we are going to see a steady allocation of resources into them,” he added.

— Dylan Butts

CNBC Pro: ASML and more: BofA just got more bullish on these 3 chip stocks, says AI spending is heating up

European semiconductor equipment stocks are likely to outperform as spending on artificial intelligence chips rises over the next decade, according to Bank of America.

The continent’s chip stocks produce the high-tech machines needed to manufacture the latest generation of chips.

“We raise our [price targets] on our EU Semicaps coverage, which we expect to continue benefiting from investment in AI infrastructure,” BofA analysts said in a note to clients.

The Wall Street bank said its top picks are likely to soar further, thanks to the “scarcity of value in Europe for AI-related stocks.”

CNBC Pro subscribers can read more about their stock picks here.

— Ganesh Rao

CNBC Pro: Morgan Stanley names Asia-Pacific ‘alpha’ stock ideas for February — giving one nearly 80% upside

The performance of major Asia markets has been uneven for the past year.

Investors have been shunning China stocks, while flooding India and Japan markets.

Those interested in stock-picking rather than passive investing can look to the bank’s list of “alpha” stocks that could beat the market.

CNBC Pro subscribers can read more here.

— Weizhen Tan

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