European stocks end on a strong note ahead of the long weekend

(RTTNews) – Despite a slow start and concerns over the ongoing war in Ukraine, European stocks closed on a strong note on Thursday as investors reacted positively to the monetary policy announcement from the European Central Bank.

Markets also benefited from lower US Treasury yields amid bets that US inflation may have peaked.

With a long holiday weekend ahead, trading volumes were somewhat low in most mainland markets.

The European Central Bank left key rates unchanged, as expected, and reaffirmed that it would end asset purchases in the third quarter.

The Governing Council, led by ECB President Christine Lagarde, left the main refinancing rate at zero, the deposit rate at -0.50% and the marginal lending rate at 0.25%.

“Going forward, the ECB’s monetary policy will depend on incoming data and developments in the Governing Council’s assessment of the outlook,” the bank said.

The ECB expects inflation to remain high in the coming months, mainly due to the sharp rise in energy costs.

The bank said incoming data since the last meeting reinforces the expectation that net asset purchases under the asset purchase program, or APP, should be completed in the third quarter. Thus, he confirmed the point of view of the previous meeting.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 index climbed 0.67%. Britain’s FTSE 100 ended up 0.47%, Germany’s DAX jumped 0.62% and France’s CAC 40 rose 0.72%, while the Swiss SMI gained 0.78%.

Among other European markets, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain and Turkey closed rising.

Greece, Poland and Sweden ended slightly lower, while Russia fell sharply.

Italian airport and highway operator Atlantia jumped 5% after Italian family Benetton and US investment fund Blackstone said they would spend up to 12.7 billion euros (14 billion dollars) to privatize the company.

In the UK market, IHG rebounded 4.1%. Rolls-Royce Holdings, IAG, Whitbread, Flutter Entertainment, Land Securities, Compass Group, Melrose Industries and Halma gained 2-3.75%.

Dechra Pharmaceuticals fell almost 6.5%. ITV lost 2.63% and Fresnillo closed down 2.28%. Ocado Group, Coca-Cola HBC, Aveva Group and BT Group also ended sharply lower.

On the French market, Atos rebounded by more than 6%. Accor gains around 5.3%. ArcelorMittal, Essilor, Sodexo, Danone and Hermes International gain 2.5 to 3%.

Thales, Pernod Ricard, Publicis Groupe, Safran, Airbus Group, WorldLine, Kering, Capgemini, Air France-KLM and BNP Paribas rose by 1.5 to 2.3%.

In Germany, MTU Aero Engines, Deutsche Wohnen, Vonovia and Puma gain 2 to 2.5%. Linde, Deutsche Post, Siemens Healthineers, Adidas, Henkel, BASF, Covestro and Munich RE also finished with strong gains.

Volkswagen ended down around 2% after releasing preliminary financial key figures for the first quarter of 2022. RWE, Continental and Brenntag also ended notably lower.

Shares of Hungarian budget airline Wizz Air soared more than 7% on encouraging signs of summer bookings.

Swedish telecoms equipment maker Ericsson plunged 6% after being warned it would likely be fined by US regulators for its handling of a corruption probe in Iraq.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

About Wanda Dufresne

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