US markets ended mostly flat on Thursday as an earlier strong rally across the benchmarks lost steam into afternoon trade as reports suggested that a closely followed experimental drug intended to treat coronavirus patients delivered disappointing results. The Dow Jones Industrial Average edged up 39.44 points, or 0.2 percent, to 23,515.26, with the S&P 500 inching up 1.51 points or less than 0.1 percent, to 2,797.80. The Nasdaq Composite meanwhile slipped less than a point to end the session virtually unchanged at 8,494.75.
European markets also closed little changed, as the latest economic figures revealed substantial stress to the region’s services sectors. The pan-European Stoxx 600 index nudged up 0.1 percent, rising for a second straight day after a slight recovery in oil prices. The financial sector also rallied, with Credit Suisse gaining 2.3 percent amongst other regional banks.
Maltese markets also followed the trend and ended nearly unchanged with the MSE Equity Total Return Index closing slightly higher at 8,193.206 points. Lombard Bank Malta Plc led the gains with shares up 6 percent at €2.12, however the gains were offset by International Hotel Investments Plc’s 5.6 percent drop to €0.59.
Nestle reports growth in sales
Swiss food giant Nestle reported its best quarterly sales growth in nearly five years as consumers stockpiled everything from Purina pet food to Nescafe coffee to frozen meals to prepare for coronavirus lockdowns. In Europe, Middle East and North Africa, most categories of Nestle product won market share, the company said. Maggi noodles and plant-based products from its Garden Gourmet brand did well, though water sales declined as fewer people ate out.
Sales in North America and Europe were particularly strong in March, helping to drive an overall rise of 4.3% in the first three months of the year, the fastest quarterly growth in nearly five years and above analyst expectations for a 3% increase. Nestle shares were 1.4% higher in early trading on Friday, outperforming the Swiss blue-chip index.
Nestle said it was launching a 500 million Swiss franc programme to help the cafes and restaurants it supplies by extending payment terms and suspending rental fees for coffee machines. It also agreed to maintain orders from its dairy suppliers who have faced “significant demand disruptions.”
This article was issued by Peter Petrov, Trader at Calamatta Cuschieri. For more information visit, www.cc.com.mt. The information, view and opinions provided in this article are being provided solely for educational and informational purposes and should not be construed as investment advice, advice concerning particular investments or investment decisions, or tax or legal advice. Calamatta Cuschieri Investment Services Ltd has not verified and consequently neither warrants the accuracy nor the veracity of any information, views or opinions appearing on this website.