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LIVE MARKETS-GRANOLAS heavier than the FAAAM'ous five

* European stocks inch higher

* STOXX 600 +1.3%, FTSE 100 +1.2%

* Germany's Wirecard plunges 20%

* HSBC, UBS, Santander: mixed Q1 results Welcome to the home for real-time coverage of European equity markets brought to you by Reuters stocks reporters. You can share your thoughts with Thyagaraju Adinarayan (, Joice Alves ( and Julien Ponthus ( in London and Stefano Rebaudo ( in Milan.


Major growth/defensive plays with solid balance sheets in Europe which are as sturdy as rock are going to shape-up the pan-European STOXX 600's moves over the next few years as they come out almost unscathed from this virus shock.

What matters is, who are these top guns?

Goldman dubs these companies as GRANOLAS -- Glaxosmithkline, Roche, ASML , Nestle, Novartis, Novo Nordisk, L'Oreal, LVMH , Astrazeneca, SAP, Sanofi.

"These (companies) have relatively strong balance sheets, low volatility growth and good dividend yields, around 2%-2.5% (much higher than other asset classes)," Goldman writes in a note.

They make up 24% of the STOXX 600, heavier than Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Alphabet and Microsoft's weight on the S&P 500.

(Thyagaraju Adinarayan)



There's nothing to be happy about the first-quarter beat, investors reckon, as BP's cash flow is drying up fast and the British oil major is still not in a mood to give up payouts to shareholders.

Let's not forget, second-quarter results are poised to be far worse given how oil prices have crushed to levels not seen for decades. Citi and Credit Suisse warn about weakening cash flows and the reflection of it in the company's balance sheet.

"Yet the decision to pay a full dividend in a quarter when cash flow is weakening, net debt shot up by $6B and the outlook for 2Q is poor can hardly be called prudent," Citi says.

"If this is a short-sharp event of a few months then, with hindsight, BP's actions today can be borne out. But does anyone really have enough clarity?"

(Thyagaraju Adinarayan)



There were a lot of blue chips reporting much awaited trading updates this morning but it's Wirecard the biggest mover on the STOXX 600 with a 20% fall after publishing a KPMG report into its account.

The second top mover also comes from Germany but this one is in positive territory: Lufthansa was up 10% after a report the government agreed a rescue package worth about 9 billion euros.

Looking into the blue chips of the STOXX 50, there were 2 clear winners in today's batch of Q1 earnings and both of them from Switzerland: UBS and ABB which were up over 4% each.

BP, on the other hand, retreated 1.9% which considering the unprecedented crash of oil prices isn't a bad performance in the grand scheme of things.

All in all, this latest update on the state of Europe Inc. is no game changer but another reminder of the pain to come.

Overall the trend is slightly more positive than it was in premarket. The broadly flat start is morphing into a modest rise with the STOXX 600 up 0.4%.

U.S. futures are also slightly up.

(Julien Ponthus)



With UK blue-chip BP agreeing to maintain its 10.5 pence-per share dividend, it's a consolation to British income funds which last month saw over 15 billion pounds ($18.6 billion) in payouts cancelled or suspended.

April has been better with some 5.6 billion pounds in dividends being retained, stockbroker AJ Bell highlights, and the BP news will add to the relief.

This week is a big one for income seekers with some 8.4 billion pound in dividends up for grabs and statements from the top 5 payers -- Shell, BP, BAT and GlaxoSmithKline and HSBC, which together accounted for over 40% of FTSE 100 payments last year.

HSBC had already bowed to regulators' pressure to hold back payouts and AJ Bell reckons payouts from GSK and BAT are in the bag. That left Shell, which hasn't missed a dividend since World War II, and BP, which last cancelled in 2010 after its Gulf of Mexico oil rig disaster.

Crude's 70% year-to-date fall means energy firms, from U.S. Occidental Petroleum to Norway's Equinor, slash dividends. Yet, BP has come through so fund managers will be keeping their fingers crossed for Shell tomorrow.

(Sujata Rao)



It's not all black and white in terms of earnings this morning: good, bad and ugly reports are painting a dark grey picture of Europe Inc in the time of coronavirus.

Under the spotlight this morning is of course the banking sector, the worst sectoral performer since the novel coronavirus broke out earlier this year.

The world's largest wealth manager UBS had some good news to report with a 40% increase in first-quarter net profit as clients increased trading activity during market turmoil.

But warnings that the upcoming coronavirus-induced recession will be ugly were given by Spain's Santander and HSBC as both set aside more money for bad loans and recorded a fall in profits.

Talking about profit declines, BP's net income fell by two-thirds as the pandemic coronavirus hit oil demand. There's a lot at stake for investors as Shell and BP represent an estimated 24% of the £75bn of FTSE 100 dividends for 2019 not yet hit by the market turmoil.

Interesting lesson about how M&A deals are sailing through the storm with BP amending the financial terms of the $5.6 billion sale of its Alaska business.

Things got more ugly for Brazil's Embraer has begun an arbitration process against Boeing after the U.S. planemaker abruptly cancelled a $4.2 billion deal over the weekend.

The assumption that pharmaceuticals are one of the safest bets in times like these was comforted by Swiss drugmaker Novartis which beat expectations and confirmed its 2020 targets as the pandemic prompted patients to stock up on their prescriptions in advance.

Another winning trend was illustrated by German online takeaway food company Delivery Hero whose orders and revenues almost doubled as lockdowns closed restaurants and prompted more people to order meals and groceries from home.

Rovio Entertainment, the maker of the 10-year-old "Angry Birds" mobile game series, said it saw an increase in the number of downloads as well as user engagement.

Of course, a lot of the Q1 reports are just simply bad: guidance ditched, outlook grim, dividend cut.

ABB said it expected the coronavirus epidemic to trigger a "sharp drop" in demand over the next three months while Norway's Telenor warned that 2020 revenue and earnings will fall short of its outlook.

Travis Perkins, Britain's largest distributor of building materials, said its total revenue in the first three weeks of April was about one third of the same period in 2019 due to the coronavirus crisis.

In terms of individual movers, Wirecard was down about 2% in early trading after it published an investigation by KPMG into its account.

Also, it seems the suspense isn't over for Lufthansa as company and government sources report that a state aid deal has not yet been secured.

(Julien Ponthus)



Futures are trading just marginally in the black this morning while another dive in oil prices overnight put global markets under pressure.

Asian shares seemed set to end their session in the red but just managed to stage a comeback into positive territory.

In Europe, it's another big earnings day across countries and sectors with the likes of Banco Santander, Telenor and Novartis reporting Q1.

The earnings galore is expected to shed some light of how bad the last weeks of the quarter really were and how ugly Q2 and Q3 look like at the moment.

(Julien Ponthus)


(Reporting by Thyagaraju Adinarayan, Joice Alves, Julien Ponthus in London and Stafano Rebaudo in Milan)