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European markets end the day on a positive note; following results, banks saw a 1% increase and Barclays a 5% increase


European stock markets closed cautiously higher Thursday, as strong corporate earnings overcame jitters around the U.S. banking sector.

European markets

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The benchmark Stoxx 600 index closed 0.2% higher. The banking sector gained 1.1%, after Deutsche Bank and Barclays profits beat expectations.

Deutsche Bank shares rose as much as 3.2%, as the bank recorded its 11th straight quarterly profit. Barclays was up by 5.3%, after it said its income climbed on higher rates and gains in its consumer credit card division.

Deutsche Bank CFO James von Moltke told CNBC on Thursday that recent sector volatility — which saw its own share price plunge and credit default swaps rocket higher — was a "test" the bank had "passed with flying colors."

In Wednesday's trading session in the U.S., shares of regional bank First Republic tumbled almost 30% as investors continued to be concerned over the bank's health, extending severe losses in the previous trading session. On Monday, the bank said that deposits dropped 40% to $104.5 billion in the first quarter.

Duncan MacInnes, investment director at Ruffer, said by email that savers were still worried about the security of their deposits, and banks would be faced with choices over whether to raise deposit rates to keep customers, hitting profitability, or face outflows.

Media stocks led European sector losses, down by 1.7%, while industrials climbed 1.3%.

AstraZeneca, Unilever and Carlsberg were among the firms reading higher on their own earnings beats.

U.S. equity markets ticked higher Thursday, boosted by Meta's results. Shares leapt after the Facebook owner reported quarterly revenue that beat analysts' expectations.

Figures published in the U.S. morning showed that the country's GDP rose by 1.1% in the first quarter, coming in below a Dow Jones consensus estimate of 2%.

In Asia-Pacific, meanwhile, markets closed mixed as investors focused on the Bank of Japan's first policy meeting led by new governor Kazuo Ueda.

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U.S. GDP rose less than expected

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Growth in the U.S. slowed considerably during the first three months of the year as interest rate increases and inflation took hold of an economy largely expected to decelerate even further ahead.

Gross domestic product, a measure of all goods and services produced for the period, rose at a 1.1% annualized pace in the first quarter, the Commerce Department reported Thursday. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been expecting growth of 2%.

The growth rate followed a fourth quarter in which GDP climbed 2.6%, part of a year that saw a 2.1% increase.

The full story is available here.

— Jeff Cox

U.S. stocks open higher

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The three major U.S. indexes opened higher on Thursday.

The Nasdaq Composite led the way with a 1% gain shortly after the opening bell. The S&P 500 was up 0.6%, while the Dow added 0.3%.

— Alex Harring

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U.S. economy grows at slower-than-expected pace in first quarter

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The U.S. economy expanded by 1.1% in the first quarter, a much-slower-than-expected pace, the Commerce Department said. Economists had forecast expansion of 2%, per Dow Jones. The report showed stronger inflation with prices increasing 4%, compared with an estimate of 3.7%.

— Jeff Cox

Unilever CEO: Past peak inflation but not yet at peak prices

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Unilever CEO: Past peak inflation but not yet at peak prices

Unilever shares climbed 1.7% through the morning after it posted underlying sales growth of 10.5% in the first quarter, ahead of a 7.2% forecast.

Growth in sales volumes was flat, though this was also better than expected by analysts.

CEO Alan Jope told CNBC the company, which owns consumer brands including Dove and Ben and Jerry's, expected stronger volumes overall this year but growth would not be a straight line. He added flat volumes were understandable given the price increases it was passing on.

Unilever said it hiked prices by 10.7% on average in the quarter.

Jope told CNBC the company had only passed through 75% of cost increases last year and that input cost inflation was only moderating in some sectors. Price pressures in segments including nutrition and ice cream remain high, he said.

"We remain very committed to our brands being priced competitively, and if market pricing comes down we will of course have to follow, but right now we're not anticipating deflationary pressure. But we all are hoping for a reduction in inflationary pressure."

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Unilever share price.

— Jenni Reid

AstraZeneca is moving quickly with Covid antibody drug, CEO says

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AstraZeneca is moving quickly with Covid antibody drug, CEO says

AstraZeneca shares were 0.1% higher at 10:22 a.m. London time, trimming earlier gains, after it reported adjusted profit of $1.92 per share on sales of around $10.9 billion.

A consensus estimate published by the company was for $1.71 per share on $10.6 billion in sales, Reuters reported.

CEO Pascal Soriot told CNBC it was a "very strong quarter" with revenue growth of 15% excluding Covid-19.

Soriot also said the company was working "very, very quickly" on its new long-acting antibody Covid drug for people who not respond well to vaccines. He said it hoped to have data to present to regulatory authorities by the middle of the year to get approval by year-end.

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AstraZeneca share price.

— Jenni Reid

Deutsche Bank passed test of recent turmoil 'with flying colors,' CFO says

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Deutsche Bank passed banking crisis test with flying colors, CFO says

Deutsche Bank shares climbed 1.7% after the company reported net profit of 1.158 billion euros ($1.28 billion) for the first quarter, ahead of a consensus estimate of 864.54 million euros.

"It was an interesting market environment in March, for sure. We were tested, and I think the silver lining of the test is we passed, and I think we passed with flying colors," Deutsche Bank CFO James von Moltke told CNBC.

"The market was looking for vulnerabilities in banks with this surprise out of the U.S. regional banking sector. It was looking for securities losses, interest rate mismanagement issues, commercial real estate exposures, and many other sort of features."

The bank was briefly swept up in the volatility after the emergency rescue of Credit Suisse by UBS. Its stock plunged and its credit default swaps — a form of insurance for a company's bondholders against its default — soared.

"Across the various dimensions, when the market took a good look at us, what they saw was a stable, well-run, well-risk managed bank," von Moltke said.

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Deutsche Bank share price.

— Jenni Reid, Elliot Smith

European stocks are choppy

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Europe's Stoxx 600 index moved between narrow losses and gains in early trade, with stronger-than-expected earnings from Barclays and Deutsche Bank boosting the banking sector.

France's CAC 40 was 0.3% higher at 10:15 a.m. Paris time, while Germany's DAX was flat and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 was 0.05% lower.

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Stoxx 600 index.

— Jenni Reid

CNBC Pro: How to trade Deutsche Bank and Barclays quarterly results based on history

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Two of Europe's largest banks — Britain's Barclays and Germany's Deutsche Bank — are set to announce their first-quarter earnings later on Thursday.

Using data from FactSet going back five years, CNBC Pro has found how well the lenders' stock performs against benchmark indexes based on different outcomes of their quarterly earnings reports.

CNBC Pro subscribers can read more here.

— Ganesh Rao

Samsung Electronics sees 87% year-on-year drop in net profit for first quarter

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Samsung Electronics saw its net profit for the first quarter of 2023 tumble by 87.14% compared to the same period last year, coming in at 1.4 trillion won (roughly $1.04 billion) compared to 11.1 trillion won in the same period a year earlier.

Operating profit saw a 95% drop in the first quarter, falling to 640 billion won from 14.12 trillion won a year earlier, and largely in line with the 600 billion won guidance given by the company earlier

Revenue for the first quarter slid 18% to 63.7 trillion won compared to the same period last year.

Shares of Samsung were trading down 0.47% on Thursday.

— Lim Hui Jie

First Republic halted for volatility after Bloomberg report on potential regulator downgrade

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First Republic's stock has turned south again after trimming some of its losses in midday trading.

The latest move lower comes after a Bloomberg News report that U.S. bank regulators were considering downgrading their assessments of the bank. This move could curb First Republic's ability to borrow from the Federal Reserve.

Shares of First Republic have been halted multiple times since the report. The stock was last down about 30%.

— Jesse Pound

First Republic shares continue to slide

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First Republic shares were down 8% in premarket trading as the troubled regional bank continued its slide.

The San Francisco-based lender said late Monday that it lost roughly 40% of its deposits in the first quarter. First Republic was seen by customers and investors as a risk after the collapse last month of Silicon Valley Bank, which had a similar financial profile.

First Republic also said that it was reviewing strategic options to help reshape its balance sheet.

The stock lost nearly 50% on Tuesday and is down more than 90% year to date.

— Jesse Pound

CNBC Pro: Investor warns it's 'looking a lot like the tech bubble' and names 3 cheap stocks to buy outside it

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The S&P 500 is "supported" by just seven mega-cap tech stocks right now — and it's starting to look a lot like the 1990s tech bubble, one analyst told CNBC on Wednesday.

Eric Lynch, managing director of Scharf Investments, named three cheap stocks to buy outside it.

CNBC Pro subscribers can read more here.

— Weizhen Tan

European markets: Here are the opening calls

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European markets are set to open lower Thursday.

The U.K.'s FTSE 100 index is expected to open 45 points lower at 7,672, Germany's DAX down 73 points at 16,666, France's CAC down 45 points at 7,548 and Italy's FTSE MIB down 163 points at 30,384, according to data from IG. 

There are no major data releases Thursday.

— Holly Ellyatt

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