- European markets closed higher on Thursday as earnings grabbed investor focus and fears over the coronavirus outbreak start to fade.
- China announced on Thursday that it will halve tariffs on hundreds of U.S. goods worth about $75 billion. Tariffs on some U.S. goods will be cut from 10% to 5%, and from 5% to 2.5% on others
European markets advanced on Thursday as earnings dominate investor focus and fears over the coronavirus outbreak start to fade.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed 0.45% higher, slightly paring morning gains. Banks jumped 2% while construction and material stocks slid 0.5%.
Global markets received a boost over night as China announced that it will halve tariffs on hundreds of U.S. goods worth about $75 billion. Tariffs on some U.S. goods will be cut from 10% to 5%, and from 5% to 2.5% on others, according to a statement from China's Ministry of Finance. The adjustments will take effect from February 14, it said.
Asia Pacific stocks mostly traded higher on Wednesday, building on gains from the previous session, after stocks sold off recently due to worries over the new coronavirus outbreaks. Chinese shares led gains in the region.
As of Wednesday night, China says a total of 28,018 cases have been confirmed and 563 people have died in the country.
Oil prices were trading higher on Thursday amid hopes that an abating coronavirus outbreak could fuel a rebound in demand for oil from China.
On Thursday, a committee that advises OPEC producers and its allies such as Russia (a group known as OPEC+) met for a another day, extending a two-day meeting, as they discuss whether to reduce oil production further to support prices.
On the data front, Germany's new industrial orders in December dropped 2.1% month-on-month, ending the worst year for industrial orders in Europe's largest economy since 2008.
Earnings are the primary driver of individual stock moves in the region.
Societe Generale missed fourth-quarter earnings projections but revealed plans for possible stock buybacks and promised improving profitability in 2020, sending the French lender's shares 1.4% higher.
Luxembourg steel manufacturer Arcelormittal reported a fourth-quarter profit beat and gave an upbeat outlook, sending its stuck surging 11% to near the the top of the Stoxx 600.
Deutsche Bank shares rallied almost 12.5% in afternoon trade to take that top spot after Los Angeles-based Capital Group announced a 3.1% stake in Germany's biggest lender.
At the other end of the European benchmark, Finnish pharma company Orion plunged 7.5% after reporting third-quarter earnings.
Royal Mail shares were down 5.5% having earlier hit an all-time low after the British former postal monopoly warned of a productivity miss and challenging outlook for the next fiscal year.
Nokia posted an unexpected rise in fourth-quarter profit to send the Finnish telecoms giant's stock 2.3% higher.