Europe Markets

European stocks close higher, brushing off coronavirus concerns

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Key Points
  • Chinese health officials say the coronavirus death toll has risen to 132 with the number of confirmed cases in China now standing at 5,974, topping the number of SARS cases previously.

European markets closed higher on Wednesday as investors in the region look to brush off concerns about the spread of the China coronavirus.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 had climbed 0.5% by the closing bell, with industrials adding 1% to lead gains as most sectors and major bourses entered positive territory.

A stabilization in European markets sentiment follows a rebound in U.S. stocks on Tuesday, after the market's biggest sell-off in more than three months.

Stocks on Wall Street also continued their rally on Wednesday, trading in positive territory following positive earnings from Apple and McDonald's. But in Asia, shares in Hong Kong plummeted Wednesday as markets returned from the Lunar New Year holiday amid coronavirus fears.

Chinese health officials say the death toll has risen to 132 with the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in China now standing at 5,974, topping the number of SARS cases previously. Between Nov. 1, 2002, and July 31, 2003, China had 5,327 SARS cases, according to the World Health Organization.

Chinese President Xi Jinping called on the country to strengthen its resolve on Tuesday, saying "I believe that as long as we strengthen our confidence, help each other, adopt scientific prevention and containment measures, and persist in precise policies, we will definitely win the battle against the outbreak."

Morale among Italian manufacturers climbed from 99.3 in December to 99.9 in January, according to the latest official statistics published Wednesday, while consumer confidence rose to 111.8 from 110.8 in December, surpassing expectations.

French consumer confidence also rose unexpectedly in January, despite major strikes against pension reform, with the INSEE official index rising from 102 in December to 104, having been expected to remain flat.

Stocks on the move

Quilter shares jumped 8.8% by the end of European trade after reporting a 17% year-on-year jump in fourth-quarter sales and a rise in full-year assets under management.

Temenos shares gained 5.2% after the Swiss software provider announced a global strategic partnership with Google Cloud. Santander shares ended the session 4.4% higher after the Spanish bank beat fourth-quarter profit expectations.

Dutch telecoms company KPN dropped 5.6% after reporting a fourth-quarter rise in net profit and forecasting a "stable" 2020, while the Paris-listed shares of mobile operator SES plunged 8.3% on the back of a Senate bill limiting payouts to companies which vacate C-band airwaves.

LVMH shares slipped 1% after the French luxury goods giant posted weaker sales growth in the fourth quarter and said it sees softer demand in Hong Kong amid anti-government protests.