European Stocks Climb for Second Day on Energy Boost, U.S. Data

(Bloomberg) -- European stocks climbed as a further recovery in oil prices and slightly better-than-expected U.S. jobless claims data lifted sentiment.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index added 0.9% at the close, with energy shares and banks leading gains. The benchmark earlier fell as much as 0.5% after disappointing PMI economic reports across the region.

Earnings were also in the spotlight. Unilever slid 1.7% after withdrawing its 2020 guidance and reporting flat quarterly sales. Volvo AB dropped 5.3% after posting a decline in sales and warning of challenges ahead.

European equities are having a volatile week with a crude-oil glut and earnings reports taking center stage against a backdrop of persistent concerns about the impact of the novel coronavirus. The Stoxx 600 entered a bull market Monday only to slump the next day amid an unprecedented collapse in oil. Shares rebounded yesterday, although sentiment remains fragile.

European Stocks Climb for Second Day on Energy Boost, U.S. Data

Reports of slumping economic activity and sentiment offer a grim preview for European leaders who will discuss a possible 2 trillion-euro ($2.2 trillion) rescue plan to help cushion the blow from the pandemic. Still, U.S. initial jobless claims that came in below the median estimate gave stocks a boost in afternoon trading.

“Economic and quarterly reports will continue to play an essential role for European trading today,” said Andreas Lipkow, a strategist at Comdirect Bank. “The worst might not be over yet, however. Even if some of the lockdowns are loosened considerably, the economic consequences are still pending.”

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