LONDON -- European markets are seeing a mixed but generally positive session this Wednesday, buoyed predominantly by some better-than-expected financial results in the banking sector. A turnaround on Wall Street yesterday has helped sentiment in Europe despite the fact that premarket trade shows the U.S. set for a generally weak performance, while Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's address to congress yesterday offered no new measures of economic stimulus.
Bernanke will speak to congress again today in the second part of the semiannual report, while a series of mixed results from some large U.S. names this morning have led European benchmark indexes to pull back a little. That said, the French CAC 40 (INDEX: ^FCHI) is still putting in a rather robust performance, up 0.8%.
As highlighted, decent corporate results in the banking sector today have led performance on the continent, with Credit Suisse (NYS: CS) outperforming after it announced it plans to increase capital by 15.3 billion Swiss francs this year and reduce costs by 1 billion francs by the end of 2013. Credit Suisse also said that second-quarter net income increased 2.6% to 788 million francs, and the move to shore up capital will almost double the level from those of this year's Q1.
Meanwhile, Sweden's Nordea Bank (OTC: NRBAY.PK) is seeing strong gains after it reported Q2 profits increasing 17% thanks to increased lending income and despite higher loan losses. The company also said that net income increased from 698 million euros last year to 820 million euros, which beat the majority of analyst estimates. Nordia has been trading around 3.5% higher today, while Credit Suisse is up 4.1%.
Elsewhere, Finnish manufacturer Wartsila (OTC: WRTBY.PK), the world's largest maker of ship motors and power plants, is down almost 10% after it reported that orders for power generation projects were down 33% from last year, and many customers had deferred deliveries in the second quarter. The company said total order intake rose just 2% in Q2, leading to a 7% increase for the year so far.
Also on the downside, Finnish phone maker Nokia (NYS: NOK) is seeing yet another day of losses Wednesday after AT&T announced earlier this week that it will cut the sale price of the company's Lumia 900 handset in half. This came as a result of weaker demand for the smartphone, which has been failing to compete with iPhone and Android models. Nokia shares have slid more than 8% so far this week and are down almost 21% since the beginning of the month.
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