For the first time in five sessions, European stocks rallied as escalating oil prices contributed to the energy sector and as investors shifted their focus on a new batch of corporate earnings report on Thursday.
Optimism was seen in the oil price rally as it overshadowed worries over a slowdown in China’s services sector growth. The oil price increase was due to a wildfire that erupted in Northern Alberta, Canada, which in turn, interrupted the country’s oil production.
West Texas Intermediate escalated almost 3 percent at $45.05 per barrel and Brent jumped to 2.3 percent at $45.63 a barrel.
Meanwhile, Tullow Oil PLC TLW rallied 7.5 percent; SBM Offshore NV edged up 1.6 percent and BP PLC gained 1.1 percent.
Spanish energy company Repsol SA gained 4.1 percent, reporting a 40 percent drop in its first-quarter net profit, hit by plummeting energy prices.
Trading volumes were anticipated to dip lower during the session due to bank holidays of Ascension Day in Germany and France. In a note, senior market analyst Craig Erlam said that this can often end up in higher levels of volatility.
Refuting the statement, French and German stocks were open for trade as usual. Austria, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland had exchanges closed.
The EURO STOXX 50 climbed 0.36 percent, France’s CAC 40 rose 0.05 percent, and Germany’s DAX 30 inched 0.14 percent higher during the European morning trade.
Energy stocks soared, as French oil and gas major Total SA rose 0.81 percent; Italy’s ENI SpA rallied 2.16 percent, while Norwegian rival Statoil ASA gained 0.29 percent.
Financial stocks added to gains with French lenders BNP Paribas and Societe Generale surging 0.41 percent and 0.88 percent respectively, and Germany’s Deutsche Bank adding 0.07 percent.
Elsewhere, Italian peripheral lenders Intesa Sanpaolo and Unicredit rallied 0.37 percent and 2.71 percent correspondingly, while Spain’s BBVA and Banco Santander gained 0.91 percent and 1.77 percent.
In earning news, Spanish infrastructure company Ferrovial escalated 0.14 percent despite having a 7.4 percent slip in core profit in the previous year.
Bayer AG rallied 0.51 percent after reporting that its Regorafenib cancer treatment drug helped prolong the lives of liver cancer patients, based on the results of a Phase III clinical trial.
In London, FTSE 100 inched 0.21 percent higher, led by BT Group, whose shares rose 2.98 percent after the company reported a 6 percent rise in full-year revenue.
Mining stocks were generally higher in the commodity-heavy index as well. Shares in Rio Tinto edged up 0.57 percent and Anglo American climbed 1.10 percent, while Glencore and Bhp Billiton jumped 1.74 percent and 1.84 percent.
Financial stocks added to gains; Royal Bank of Scotland surged 0.01 percent and Barclays rallied 0.28 percent, while Lloyds Banking inched 0.32 percent upwards and HSBC Holdings added 0.49 percent.
Morrison Supermarkets announced a 0.7 percent growth in like-for-like sales in the 13 weeks to May 1, making shares soar 0.32 percent.
However, software company Sage Group dropped 2.65 percent after it reported a 15.6 percent year-on-year drop in pretax profit for the half year ending March 31.
Equity markets geared to a higher open in America. The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures posted a 0.36 percent growth, S&P 500 futures a 0.37 percent climb, and the Nasdaq 100 futures with a 0.45 percent increase.
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