Mixed open for European markets as BP and HSBC results beat expectations

Lucy Harley-McKeown
·3 min read
London's Canary Wharf business district. Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
London's Canary Wharf business district. Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Trade remained mixed across Europe on Tuesday with a number of small moves, despite major FTSE 100 companies beating profit outlooks in their quarterly results. 

In London, the FTSE 100 (^FTSE) moved lower by 0.5% by the close in London. The German DAX (^GDAXI) edged down 0.2%. The French CAC (^FCHI) was close to flat. 

FTSE 100 drivers HSBC (HSBA.L) and BP (BP.L) beat profit forecasts on Tuesday morning. BP shares jumped more than 2.5% on the opening bell to lead the index.

HSBC posted a 79% rise in pre-tax profit of $5.78bn (£4.1bn) for the first quarter of 2021, up from $3.21bn a year ago. Despite the good results, the bank still said that there is a “a high degree of uncertainty.”

Higher oil prices helped support BP's outlook — the oil major said it would start buying back shares in Q2. 

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"We’re into the meat of earnings season proper now with 173 S&P 500 companies that account for around half the market capitalisation are reporting this week," said Neil Wilson, chief market analyst for Markets.com. 

"So far so good: of those that have already reported, revenues are up 10% on average, while earnings are up by a third. A stunning turnaround from last year’s pandemic washout, driven by a combination of massive fiscal stimulus, extraordinarily accommodative monetary policy and a vaccine-led cyclical bounce back of epic proportions."

Across the world, new lockdowns in Turkey and the worsening COVID-19 situation in India could shake investors' confidence. Oil prices retreated on Monday on the prospect of fresh restrictions in India — one of the world's biggest importers of the commodity. 

Watch: BP profit soars on strong oil, gas trading

READ MORE: What India's COVID disaster means for the world economy

Over in the US the Federal Reserve kicks off a two-day meeting on Tuesday, which investors will be expecting to pass with little fanfare. 

US stocks were slightly lower across the board by the close in London. The S&P 500 (^GSPC) was down about 0.1%, the Nasdaq (^IXIC) edged 0.2% lower and the Dow (^DJI) was down by about 0.1%. 

Asian stocks mainly retreated overnight. Hong Kong's Hang Seng (^HSI) fell 0.2%, and the Shanghai Composite (000001.SS) dipped 0.1%. Japan's Nikkei (^N225) fell 0.5% following a day of strong gains on Monday.

Reactions were muted following the Bank of Japan announcing it would hold interest rates at -0.1% overnight.

Watch: India sets COVID-19 case records; US promises to help