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U.S. stocks open little changed

U.S. stocks opened little changed on Friday, a day after the Dow Jones Industrial Average crossed over the historic 40,000 level.

The 30-stock Dow added 40 points, or 0.1%, as did the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite.

— Lisa Kailai Han

Biggest movers: Lagercrantz up over 8%, Azelis Group down more than 12%

Swedish technology company Lagercrantz traded at record highs on Friday, with shares last up 8.5% as of 11:01 a.m. London time after the company posted results for its fourth fiscal quarter and full fiscal year. Earnings before interest and tax jumped 14% in the three months to the end of March 2024, and climbed 19% over the full year, the company said.

Shares in Belgian food ingredient and speciality chemicals Scompany Azelis Group tumbled and were last down 12.7%. Reuters reported that two of Azelis’ major shareholders, EQT Partners and PSP Investments, had sold over 10% of outstanding shares at a discount.

— Sophie Kiderlin

Richemont sales dips in fourth quarter on weak Asia-Pacific demand

Shoppers line up to enter a Cartier store on Canton Road in the Tsim Sha Tsui area of Hong Kong.

Billy H.C. Kwok | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Swiss luxury group Richemont on Friday reported a 1% drop in fourth-quarter sales, adding to a picture of weakening demand across the luxury sector.

The Cartier owner said sales fell to 4.8 billion euros ($5.21 billion) in the three months to March, driven by a slowdown in Asia-Pacific. At constant exchange rates, sales grew 2% over the period, less than the 8% recorded in the previous quarter.

For the full year, group sales rose 3% to an all-time high of 20.6 billion euros.

“We experienced a softening of sales in the fourth quarter in Asia Pacific against challenging comparatives, which was more than offset by higher growth in all the other regions. As we predicted, a sustainable rebound in Chinese demand would take some time,” chairman Johann Rupert said in a statement.

In a separate statement, the company announced Nicolas Bos, CEO of Van Cleef & Arpels, as its new group CEO, effective June 1.

— Karen Gilchrist

CNBC Pro: BofA names ‘Asia’s most important stocks’ — and analysts give one over 40% upside

BofA Securities has screened for 20 of Asia’s “most important stocks,” selected from the constituents of the MSCI Asia Pacific Index.

Back-testing shows that the stocks on the investment bank’s screen “would have outperformed in 16 of the last 29 calendar years, and that they tend to outperform in rising markets.”

“In recent years, they would have meaningfully outperformed in 2019-20, but meaningfully underperformed in 2021-22. These are important stocks investors need to get right,” BofA’s analysts said, naming stocks on their screen.

CNBC Pro subscribers can read more on the stocks here.

— Amala Balakrishner

CNBC Pro: Meme stocks and more: Analyst names ‘danger zone’ companies to avoid

European markets: Here are the opening calls

European markets are expected to open lower Friday.

The U.K.’s FTSE 100 index is expected to open 12 points lower at 8,416, Germany’s DAX down 36 points at 18,686, France’s CAC 25 points lower at 8,163 and Italy’s FTSE MIB down 105 points at 34,975, according to data from IG.

Earnings are due from Richemont and Engie, while inflation updates are due out of the U.K. and euro zone.

— Karen Gilchrist

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