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European markets ended slightly higher on a day investors focused their attention on monitoring business results. The technology sector benefited from Apple’s good results, with ST Microelectronics (suppliers of the American company) rised more than 2%. In the banking sector, Société Générale recorded a significant devaluation, after having reported results below expectations (932 M. € vs. 986 M. € estimated). Beyond this negative deviation, the sharp drop in stock trading revenues (which is repeatedly one of the strengths of the French bank) may cause some displeasure among investors. Also in Paris, Air France-KLM closed with a steep drop. Although it has outperformed the estimates, the company fell short of its competitors in terms of cost cutting. In the automotive sector, Renault led the gains, after the French state reduced its share to 15%. In Spain, Repsol reported quarterly profits that marginally exceeded the forecasts: 576 M. € vs. 558 M. €. The oil company’s shares also lost ground.
Apple’s results, as well as the employment report released, were encouraging the North American market. Apple shares rose about 2.80 percent. The company presented its quarterly accounts yesterday, with earnings and revenues exceeding estimates. Adjusted EPS reached 2.07 USD, above the expected 1.87 USD and revenues amounted to 52600 M.USD, vs. 50700 M. € forecast. Sales of iPhones reached 46.7 million units, up from the expected 46 million. For the next quarter, the company expects revenues to be between 84,000 M.USD and 87,000 M.USD, compared to 85,000 M.USD expected by analysts. These accounts do not yet reflect the sales of the new iPhone X. Regarding the iPhone 8 and the iPhone 8 Plus, they have become “instantly” the two best-selling products by Apple, surprising even the executives. In terms of economic indicators, the employment report showed that 261 000 jobs were created in October, down from 313 000 expected. The unemployment rate stood at 4.10%, lower than the expected 4.20%. Average hourly wages remained unchanged from the previous month, with forecasts showing an increase of 0.20%. The ISM activity index for the services sector stood at 60.10 in October, higher than the expected 58.50. Durable goods orders were in line with expectations, rising by 2% during September. If we exclude transport orders, orders for durable goods rose by 0.70%.