European shares gain as upbeat earnings ease recession fears

  • STOXX 600 up 0.6%, extends gains for third day
  • AstraZeneca jumps on 2023 growth forecast
  • Siemens up after quarterly profit beat
  • German consumer prices rise less than expected

Feb 9 (Reuters) - European shares climbed for the third straight session on Thursday as cooling inflation in Germany and a slew of upbeat earnings offset concerns over hawkish comments by top central bank policymakers and alleviated fears of a steep recession.

The pan-European STOXX 600 (.STOXX) ended up 0.6%, after hitting a near one-year high earlier in the session.

Industrials (.SXNP) were the biggest to boost to the index, bolstered by a 6.7% gain in Siemens (SIEGn.DE) after the builder of trains and industrial software reported better-than-expected earnings and raised its full-year sales and profit guidance.

AstraZeneca Plc (AZN.L) rose 4.1% after the British drugmaker projected growth in 2023 and beyond.

Shares of Sweco AB (SWECb.ST), a Swedish construction and engineering company, jumped 15.6% to top the STOXX 600 following upbeat fourth-quarter earnings.

Standard Chartered (STAN.L) came in close behind with a 11.4% jump on a report of continued buyout interest from the UAE's biggest lender First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB.AD).

Electric component maker Legrand (LEGD.PA) jumped 4.1% on forecast-beating 2022 results.

However, bucking the trend, Credit Suisse Group (CSGN.S) dropped 14.7% after reporting the worst annual loss since the 2008 global financial crisis.

U.S. Fed officials on Wednesday hinted that more rate hikes were on the table to further cool inflation, with European Central Bank (ECB) members such as Luis de Guindos and Klaas Knot also stressing the need for more tightening.

"Even though you have seen central banks sending a slightly more hawkish message, it seems equity investors are looking more favourably at a lower probability of recession in 2023," said Richard Flax, Chief Investment Officer at Moneyfarm.

"We are seeing earnings downgrades but perhaps not as steep as they have been in previous recessionary environments."

Euro zone government bond yields fell on Thursday after four days of increases, as data showed German consumer prices, harmonized to compare with other European Union countries, rose in January by a less-than-anticipated 9.2% year-on-year.

The German DAX (.GDAXI) rose 0.7%, closing at its highest level in nearly one year.

Of the 93 STOXX 600 companies that have reported earnings so far, more than half have beaten market expectations, Refinitiv data showed on Tuesday.

Signs of economic resilience and better-than-feared corporate earnings have helped European stocks outperform their U.S. counterparts so far this year.

The STOXX 600 has gained around 8.8% so far this year, higher than a 7.5% advance in the benchmark U.S. S&P 500 (.SPX) index.

Reporting by Ankika Biswas and Amruta Khandekar in Bengaluru; Editing by Eileen Soreng, Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Kylie MacLellan

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