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European shares hit highest since August

European shares

European shares were hit the highest since August on Credit Suisse, SAP

World shares pared back losses on Wednesday as positive earnings in Europe from Credit Suisse and investor support for SAP helped soothe worries that China has put broader stimulus on hold.

European shares crept into positive territory, with the pan-regional STOXX 600 index edging up 0.1 percent to reach its highest level since Aug. 1. Germany’s DAX shrugged off a business survey showing German business morale deteriorated in April, to rise 0.8 percent.

The big picture is the tussle between Asia, which has pulled back, and America, where the markets made new highs, so Europe is probably going to be a bit torn between the two, said Andrew Milligan, head of global strategy at Aberdeen Standard Investments.

The positive for Europe is Credit Suisse’s earnings, which could reignite upbeat sentiment and show that some financials are doing well despite weak European economic sentiment and the problems from very low interest rates, he added.

Credit Suisse’s shares rose 2.7 percent after the bank posted an unexpected rise in earnings and said it was cautiously optimistic about the second quarter following a challenging start to the year.

It posted a net profit of 749 million Swiss francs ($734 million) for the first quarter of 2019 as larger-than-expected wealth management gains offset investment banking declines.

Results from UBS Group AG and Barclays follow on Thursday and Deutsche Bank on Friday.

Top performers on the STOXX 600 were payments company Wirecard and business software company SAP, which also boosted the DAX.

Wirecard jumped 8 percent after it was reported that Japan’s SoftBank was looking to invest about 900 million euros ($1 billion) for a minority stake in the company.

SAP climbed 9.0 percent, putting it on target for its best day since November 2008, as U.S. activist investor Elliott revealed a 1.2 billion euro stake in SAP and said it supported a new management efficiency drive. That followed the company setting new medium-term profit targets after reporting a first-quarter operating loss that chiefly resulted from a restructuring charge.

Wall Street was looking set for a subdued start after the Nasdaq and S&P 500 indexes reached record closing highs overnight.

In Asia, the biggest regional loser was South Korea’s KOSPI, which fell 0.9 percent, with Samsung Electronics down 1 percent.

Investors shrugged off the government’s proposed supplementary budget aimed in part at supporting exports from the country and focused instead on a warning from chipmaker Texas Instruments, which said it expects a slowdown in demand for microchips to last a few more quarters.

Chinese equities flitted between gains and losses as investors debated whether Beijing would slow its pace of policy easing following stronger-than-expected first-quarter economic growth.

The MSCI world equity index, which tracks shares in 47 countries, was broadly flat, down 0.03 percent in early afternoon European trade.

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