Europe Markets

European markets close higher as oil prices make a comeback

Key Points
  • The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed 1.8% higher, with all sectors and major bourses in positive territory.
  • Oil markets have bounced back from a steep sell-off.
  • Corporate earnings have begun to take center stage in driving individual share price action.

European shares closed higher Wednesday as oil markets bounced back from a steep sell-off.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed 1.8% higher provisionally, with basic resources stocks adding 3.5% to lead gains as all sectors and major bourses held in positive territory.

The June contract for West Texas Intermediate (WTI) shot up by 24%, while Brent crude hovered above $20 per barrel in afternoon deals. U.S. crude prices have seen sharp losses in recent days due to a slump in demand and oversupply amid the coronavirus outbreak.

On Wall Street, U.S. stocks rose for the first time in three days as traders reacted to the latest moves in crude oil markets.

On the data front, U.K. inflation fell in March, the Office for National Statistics confirmed Wednesday, on the back of tumbling oil prices and an escalation of the coronavirus crisis. The consumer price index came in at 1.5%, compared to 1.7% in February.

Earnings in focus

Corporate earnings have begun to take center stage in driving individual share price action. 

AkzoNobel climbed 8% after reporting a better-than-expected jump in first-quarter core profit. Finnish telecoms provider Elisa rose by 6% after confirming its 2020 outlook, despite the uncertainty arising from the coronavirus pandemic.

At the top of the Stoxx 600, shares of Finnish oil refining firm Neste rose by 9% amid the rally in oil prices.

At the other end of the European benchmark, staffing company Adecco saw its shares fall almost 7%.