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Europe markets close higher

European markets closed higher on Friday, regaining positive momentum as investors digested a fresh batch of earnings.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 provisionally ended up around 1.2%, with construction and material stocks leading gains, up 2.1% for the session.

— Sam Meredith

Stocks on the move: Wartsila up 12%, Delivery Hero down 18%

Wartsila surged to the top of the pan-European Stoxx 600 index during afternoon deals.

The marine and energy equipment maker on Friday reported “good progress” through the first quarter of the year, with the Finland-based firm’s order book climbing to a new all-time high. Shares of Wartsila rose over 12% on the news.

Meanwhile, German food delivery giant Delivery Hero slipped to the bottom of the benchmark index.

Shares of the company fell more than 18% amid reports that Chinese food delivery giant Meituan is seeking to hire staff in Saudi Arabia, a prospect that could pit the firm against Delivery Hero’s operations in the country.

— Sam Meredith

S&P 500, Nasdaq opens higher

Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange on April 25, 2024.

Brendan Mcdermid | Reuters

Thyssenkrupp shares jump 9%

Shares of Thyssenkrupp rose more than 9% on Friday, buoyed by news that the German conglomerate will sell a 20% stake in its steel business to the energy company controlled by Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky.

The deal is expected to close in the current fiscal year, subject to the approval of the relevant authorities and Thyssenkrupp’s board. The parties did not disclose the value of the deal.

Thyssenkrupp said on Friday that the parties were in talks for Kretinsky’s EP Corporate Group to buy a further 30% stake in order to form a 50-50 joint venture.

— Sam Meredith

PCE rises 2.8% in March

The personal consumption expenditures price index rose more than expected in March, the Commerce Department reported Friday.

The inflation measure increased 2.8% from a year ago, excluding food and energy. That came in ahead of the 2.7% estimate from Dow Jones.

Including food and energy, the price gauge rose 2.7%, ahead of the 2.6% estimate. Both measures increased 0.3% and were in line with expectations on a monthly basis.

— Samantha Subin

Ideas that central bank policy can solve all global issues should be avoided, SNB chairman says

Protecting the climate falls into the realm of politicians, not central bankers, and any ideas that central bank policy can solve all global issues should be avoided, Swiss National Bank Chairman Thomas Jordan said on Friday.

“It is also important… we are serious and do not give the impression that we can solve all the problems of the world with monetary policy,” Jordan said at the SNB’s shareholder meeting, Reuters reported.

The SNB considers risks associated with its investments and has excluded certain areas of business such as coal producers, he noted.

Climate activists protested at the SNB’s shareholder meeting on Friday, calling for the SNB to stop investing in companies which the activists say are harmful for the environment and carry out fracking.

— Sophie Kiderlin

Euronext boss says CVC’s highly anticipated debut shows IPO market is back

Euronext CEO says IPO market is back — and the listings pipeline is 'very, very impressive'

Euronext boss Stéphane Boujnah on Friday said the long-awaited trading debut of one of Europe’s biggest buyout companies shows that the initial public offering market is back on track.

Shares of Amsterdam-listed CVC Capital Partners, a Luxembourg-based private equity group, jumped around 23% on Friday morning. The IPO is widely expected to be one of Europe’s largest this year.

“It is a very strong signal of the comeback of IPOs in Europe, in particular in continental Europe,” Euronext’s Boujnah told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Europe.”

“We have a very, very impressive pipeline for the months to come,” he added.

— Sam Meredith

NatWest shares rise over 4% after reporting less-than-expected profit decline

Europe-traded shares of NatWest were 4.8% higher as of 11:13 a.m. London time after the British lender reported its profits had fallen by less than expected in the first quarter.

Pre-tax operating profit came in at £1.3 billion ($1.63 billion) in the first three months of 2024, a 27% decline from the same time period in 2023..

Analysts had forecast £1.2 billion of pre-tax operating profit for the first quarter of 2024, according to Reuters.

— Sophie Kiderlin

‘We need to step up and create more resilience and deterrence,’ Saab CEO says

European countries are likely to increase their defense spending because there is an “aggressive neighbour to our east,” but more needs to be done, Micael Johansson, the CEO of Swedish defense company Saab, told CNBC on Friday.

“We need to step up and create more resilience and deterrence,” he said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box Europe.”

Stepping up means that new capabilities should be created and new technologies must be embraced, Johansson said, singling out air defense systems.

Saab is investing heavily and steps are being taken to boost capabilities, but more long-term commitments from European governments are needed, he added.

We need to step up to create more resilience, deterrence: Saab CEO

Saab on Friday released its first-quarter results for 2024. It’s first-quarter operating income jumped 28% to 1.19 billion crowns ($109 million), while sales rose by 24%, the company said.

The forecast organic sales growth for was adjusted higher to 15%-20% from the previous 12%-16%.

Johansson told CNBC that Saab was heavily investing to boost capacity at its facilities.

“We will be a bit front loaded now this year next year when it comes to investment. We are investing heavily when it comes to our support weapons and ammunitions,” he said, adding that employee numbers had also increased.

— Sophie Kiderlin

NatWest first-quarter profits fall 27%

A NatWest Group Plc bank branch in the City of London, UK, on Thursday, Feb. 15, 2024.

Bloomberg | Getty Images

NatWest on Friday reported a slightly less-than-expected fall of 27% in first-quarter profits as the British lender struggles to stave off competition from other savings and mortgages providers.

Pre-tax operating profit came in at £1.3 billion ($1.63 billion) for the first three months of the year, down from £1.8 billion in the first quarter of 2023. An average of analyst forecasts had expected pre-tax operating profit of £1.2 billion for the period, according to Reuters.

NatWest CEO Paul Thwaite said the results indicated that consumer confidence was returning.

“Though macro-uncertainty continues, customer confidence and activity is improving, with both lending and deposits up in the quarter and impairments remaining low, reflecting our well-diversified business,” he said in a statement.

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CNBC Pro: Goldman Sachs likes these 2 mobile gaming stocks set for ‘blockbuster’ launches, gives one 40% upside

Investors seeking exposure to China’s growing gaming industry should look specifically at two technology according to Goldman Sachs.

The investment bank expects “China to see faster growth from mid 2024 supported by game launches and a loosening regulatory environment.”

Touching on opportunities for the companies, the Wall Street bank flagged opportunities such as “an accelerating quarter with blockbuster title launches,” in 2Q2023.

CNBC Pro subscribers can read more here.

— Amala Balakrishner

CNBC Pro: Should investors buy the dip in Lululemon? Here’s what this fund manager says

Shares of popular athleisure brand Lululemon have plummeted this year, trailing the S&P 500 significantly.

Its shares, which were included in the Wall Street index just last October, are down around 28% year-to-date.

Does that make it a good bargain for investors right now? Jack Dwyer, CEO of Infusive Asset Management, weighs in.

CNBC Pro subscribers can read more here.

— Weizhen Tan

European markets: Here are the opening calls

European markets are set to open in positive territory Friday, recovering from a dip in yesterday’s session.

The U.K.’s FTSE 100 index is expected to open 50 points higher at 8,124, Germany’s DAX up 62 points at 17,980, France’s CAC 38 points higher at 8,049 and Italy’s FTSE MIB up 185 points at 33,857, according to data from IG.

Corporate releases are set to come from L’Oreal, TotalEnergies and NatWest. Data releases include Sweden’s household lending and Spain’s retail sales.

— Karen Gilchrist

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