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Europe stocks close lower after U.S. inflation print comes in above expectations; Encavis up 25%

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Stocks on the move: Vistry Group up 8%, AB InBev down 4%

British homebuilder Vistry Group was 8% higher at 1:45 p.m. in London, after reporting a 30% rise in revenue and an increase in operating profit to £488 million ($623 million) for full-year 2023 from £451 million in the previous 12-month stretch.

Property stocks have been buoyed by positive signs from the U.K. housing market, as a survey from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors indicated optimism surrounding sales and pricing. U.K. house prices fell far less than expected last year, with the average declining by 1.4%, according to the Office for National Statistics.

AB InBev, the world’s biggest brewer, slipped 4% after U.S. tobacco firm Altria, the maker of Marlboro, on Wednesday said it plans to sell 35 million shares in the firm. It currently holds around 197 million shares, according to Reuters — representing approximately 10% of ownership.

— Jenni Reid

S&P 500 opens little changed

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 opened little changed on Thursday, with fresh inflation data showing wholesale prices increased more than expected in February.

The broad market index hovered near the flatline. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 107 points, or 0.2%. The Nasdaq Composite climbed 0.1%.

— Brian Evans

ECB’s Lane: Must ‘take our time’ on rate cuts, will have clearer picture in June

The European Central Bank must take its time to get interest rate cuts right and will have a clearer picture of inflationary pressures in June, the institution’s chief economist told CNBC Thursday.

In line with the ECB’s messaging at its March meeting, Philip Lane said that more data was required, particularly around wages, and that the Governing Council would “learn a lot by April, a lot more by June” — the dates of its next two meetings.

June emerged as a key date in market commentary, as it’s set to mark the first meeting where the ECB can assess spring data on wage negotiations for the year.

Asked about other colleagues on the ECB’s Governing Council who have suggested rate cuts could take place before the summer, Lane said he believed this was a reference to the second quarter, which would include June.

“I think Q2 is a time when we will be far enough into 2024 to see more of the wage dynamic, to see more of the price pressures.”

Read more here.

— Jenni Reid

Renewable energy producer Encavis up 27% on buyout offer

Shares of German renewable energy producer Encavis soared 27% in early trade, after investment firm KKR confirmed it had made a takeover offer for the company for 17.50 euros ($19.14) per share in cash, for a total equity value of around 2.8 billion.

The deal represents a 54% premium on the stock’s closing price of March 5, the day before a Bloomberg report revealed talks over the deal.

Energy systems firm Viessmann would act as co-investor in a KKR-led consortium.

Encavis’s board supports the offer, according to a statement.

“Over the past years, Encavis has grown into one of the leading independent power producers in Europe and has strong ambitions to further continue on this growth path,” Encavis CFO Christoph Husmann said.

“With KKR and Viessmann, we aim to bring partners on board who share the same long-term and entrepreneurial approach and extensive experience of investing behind the energy transition,” Husmann added.

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Encavis share price.

Deliveroo losses narrow

A Deliveroo rider near Victoria station in London, England, on March 31, 2021.

Dan Kitwood | Getty Images

Meal delivery firm Deliveroo reported a £31.8 million ($40.7 million) loss in full-year results on Thursday, moving closer to profitability following a £294.1 million loss during the previous year.

Adjusted earnings — stripping out the impact of one-off costs from its exit from some markets — came in at £85.4 million, ahead of the company’s prior guidance and up from a £45 million loss in 2022.

The British firm said it has benefited from efficiencies in its delivery network, the optimization of marketing spend, overheads savings and a higher advertising contribution, as it forecast adjusted earnings of £110-130 million for 2024, along with positive cash flow.

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Deliveroo share price.

CNBC Pro: European stocks are up 7 weeks in a row. Here’s how long a winning streak typically lasts

European stock markets rose beyond a key psychological barrier this month and show no signs of stopping.

The STOXX Europe 600 hit 500 points for the first time last week, and the benchmark index has since notched yet another all-time high. The records come alongside positive returns for seven consecutive weeks.

Yet, investors need not feel nervous from the market euphoria if history is any indication. Stocks could be in for even bigger gains ahead, according to CNBC Pro’s analysis of stock market data starting from 1987.

CNBC Pro subscribers can read more here.

— Ganesh Rao

CNBC Pro: Chinese stocks are ‘a risk worth taking,’ asset manager says — naming 2 he likes

Asset manager Jason Hsu sees promise in Chinese stocks – naming short and longer-term opportunities to play the market.

“Chinese stocks are trading at the cheapest they’ve ever been. They offer such a big discount and are certainly good investments within a portfolio. There is a risk with China – with how the economy will take form – but with stocks being so cheap, it is a risk worth taking,” Hsu, who is the chairman and chief investment officer at Rayliant Global Advisors told CNBC Pro on Mar. 13.

“I’m always of the view that if you wait around for all the ambiguity or uncertainty to be over – the opportunities will be gone. Everyone is sure that China is going to be back in the race. So, the fact that there is a lot of negative sentiment now means you’re getting a big discount for holding on for future growth in China,” he added, naming two stocks on his radar.

CNBC Pro subscribers can read more here.

— Amala Balakrishner

European markets: Here are the opening calls

European markets are set to open in positive territory Wednesday, building on gains seen since the start of the week.

The U.K.’s FTSE 100 index is expected to open 40 points higher at 8,084, Germany’s DAX up 60 points at 18,201, France’s CAC 20 points higher at 8,130 and Italy’s FTSE MIB up 206 points at 34,331, according to data from IG.

Earnings come from Orange, Air Liquide, Iberdrola, Roche and Heathrow. Data releases include Germany’s Ifo Institute’s survey on business conditions and expectations for April.

— Holly Ellyatt

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