Busy session for European corporate earnings


Britain's biggest telecoms company posted a 3 percent rise in core earnings, despite a 4 percent decline in revuenes, and lifted its full-year dividend.

Fourth quarter operating profit hit £1.6bn, slightly higher than analysts had forecast. Quarterly sales fell 4 percent to £4.88bn and full-year sales to £19bn. Full year earnings were 6.1bn.

BT said it will up its dividend by between 10 percent and 15 percent each year for the next three years as it trims its employee pension deficit to free up cash. The shortfall was marked down to £3.9bn from £4.1bn.

BT shares fell 2 percent in London to trade at 212.9 pence. The stock has risen 11.5 percent so far this year


The world's biggest steel company issued an upbeat assessment for the second quarter after US sales lifted sales and earnings past analysts' estimates for the first three months of the year.

The Luxembourg-based group said first quarter core profit hit $1.97bn, around 24 percent lower than the same period last year but a 15 percent improvement from the final three months of 2011.

The Lakshmi Mittal-controlled company said it expects improved profits in the second quarter while steel shipments will remain little changed from the first three months.

ArcelorMittal shares rose 2.5 percent in early trading to change hands at 12.71. The stock is down 10 percent for the year.


Germany's second-largest utility met analysts' expectations with a 9 percent drop first quarter earnings of €3.1bn from sales of €15.6bn.

Higher gas prices on the wholesale market were marginally offset by solid profits in oil and gas exploration.

RWE has warned investors that soaring purchase prices for natural gas from Russian and Norway will contribute to losses that exceed last year's €800m shortfall.

Larger rival Eon AG said Wednesday posted a 27 percent rise in quarterly profit thanks in part to renegotiated natural gas contracts with its Norwegian supplier, Statoil.

RWE shares rose 0.93 percent to 32.38 in Frankfurt, extending the year-to-date gain to 20.2 percent.


The Spanish oil company embroiled in a row over the nationalisation of its majority holding in Argentina-based YPF, said quarterly profits rose 4 percent from the same period last year to €474m. The figure, which excludes the changing value of its oil inventories, was stronger than forecasts but did not include the impact of the newly-seized YPF. When that group's earnings are factored-in, the adjusted net figure drops 3 percent from the same period last year to €635m, a steeper loss than forecast.

Repsol shares rose 3.6 percent in Madrid to €13.6 arresting a 42 percent year-to-date decline accelerated by the YPF nationalisation in April.


The biggest insurance group in Switzerland, previously branded as Zurich Financial Services, posted a 78 percent rise in first quarter profit as natural catastrophe payouts fell sharply from the same period last year.

Group net income rose to $1.14bn, beating estimates, while operating profit in its general insurance unit surged to $856m.

The group paid out $517m in claims in New Zealand, Autralia and Japan in the first quarter of last year, creating a favourable comparison which helped boost the bottom line for the first three months of 2012.

Zurich shares jumped 1.2 percent to 220.4 Swiss francs in Zurich trading. The stock is up 3.7 percent so far this year.


The British-based electrical goods retailer posted full-year profits of between £65m and £70m thanks to a strong final push in the financial year ending in April, the company said in an interim statement.

Europe's second-largest electronics retailer, which operates under the Currys, PC World, UniEuro and Kotsovlos brands, said a lift in fourth-quarter sales in existing stores of 5 percent. Group sales in key markets in Southern Europe, however, were said to have been impacted by the region's ongoing debt crisis.

Dixon's shares surged 3.77 percent in early London trading to 18.18 pence, extending this year's gain to 85 percent.