Europe ends sharply up after ECB pledge; oil recovers

European stocks finished sharply higher on Thursday, as investors cheered the European Central Bank president's pledge to review its monetary policy at its next meeting.


The pan-European STOXX 600 came off session highs, yet ended sharply higher, up 1.9 percent provisionally, following the ECB news, with all sectors posting strong gains.

ECB in focus

The European Central Bank left interest rates on hold on Thursday amid growing concerns over faltering global economic growth, with equities remaining steady.

At his press conference following the policy meeting, President Mario Draghi told reporters that following the turmoil in the markets: "it will therefore be necessary to review and possibly reconsider our monetary policy stance at our next meeting in March."

The dollar strengthened against the euro on the news, and last stood up 0.5 percent at $1.083. Stocks also jumped on the announcement, with France's CAC and Germany's DAX both closing up around 2 percent. London's FTSE finished higher too, at 1.8 percent.

The comments from ECB's Mario Draghi boosted stocks in U.S. markets, as investors cheered on the comments along with the bounce back in oil prices.

Europe's main movers

Shares in German lender Deutsche Bank tumbled almost 6 percent before paring losses after the bank issued a profit warning alongside its fourth-quarter results. Shares closed 3.4 percent down.

Italian banks finished trade sharply higher after a week of freefall on fears that the ECB had asked for data on their bad loan portfolios. BMPS jumped 43 percent by the close, with Unicredit and Banco Popolare ending up 7.9 and 10.3 percent respectively. Stocks in the banking sector rose following Draghi's comments saying that a recent ECB investigation was never meant to affect the Italian banks so negatively.

Sticking with banks, U.K. bank Barclays announced it is set to cut some 1,200 jobs, with most of them coming from its investment banking business in Asia. Shares, however finished up some 2.2 percent.

U.K. publisher, Pearson soared over 17 percent after the British firm announced plans to cut 10 percent of its workforce, cap its dividend and restructure after cutting earnings forecasts for 2015 and 2016.

Swiss-American firm Logitech saw shares rally over 9 percent after its third quarterly results beat analyst expectations, with its operating profit falling 1.5 percent.

Oil, miners eyed

Oil prices fluctuated between gains and losses during Thursday's trade as investors tried to shake of the persistent oversupply issues and a weak outlook for demand. Prices saw further gains in late trade after government data showed U.S. crude stockpiles had risen some 4 million barrels in the previous week, above analyst expectations.

Brent crude was trading over 3 percent up at Europe's close around $28.95, while U.S. WTI also saw strong gains, last stood at $29.36.

Oil stocks remained upbeat, with Seadrill recovering from Wednesday's dramatic falls, recovering 16.3 percent. Subsea 7, Tullow Oil and BP all closed 4 percent or more up.

Miners were some of Europe's top performers on Thursday, as copper and lead prices traded higher. Glencore jumped 15.5 percent, with BHP Billiton, ArcelorMittal and Anglo American all posting strong gains above 10 percent.

Markets in Asia tumbled into negative territory, following another selloff on Wall Street overnight on global growth concerns, uncertainty in China and fresh lows in oil prices. Japan's Nikkei 225 extended losses closing down over 2 percent after losing 3.71 percent in Wednesday's session, falling into bear territory.