LONDON — European stocks advanced on Thursday as investors reacted to a slew of earnings and continued to monitor developments in Ukraine, and Russia’s next move on its gas supplies to Europe.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 climbed 1% in early trade, with autos jumping 2.4% to lead gains as all sectors and major bourses entered positive territory.
There was mixed trade for European stocks on Wednesday, with fears persisting over Ukraine and energy supplies to the region following Russia’s decision to halt gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria.
Gazprom told both countries that it was halting supplies because they had refused to pay for the gas in rubles, as Moscow demanded recently. The move pushed European gas prices higher and the euro lower, with the single currency falling to a five-year low against the dollar earlier in the day.
Elsewhere, Asia-Pacific stocks were higher in Thursday morning trade, as investors in the region watched for market reaction to the Bank of Japan’s latest monetary policy decision. U.S. stock futures rose in overnight trading as the market shook off the April sell-off and investors reacted positively to earnings from Meta Platforms.
Earnings in focus
In another busy day for earnings, Sanofi, TotalEnergies, HelloFresh, Banco Sabadell, Barclays, Sainsbury’s, Standard Chartered and Unilever were among the companies reporting Thursday.
Barclays beat earnings expectations on the back of a strong showing from its corporate and investment banking division due to market volatility in the first quarter, but said it had suspended its planned share buyback program on the back of a costly trading error in the U.S. Shares inched 1.3% higher in early trade.
Standard Chartered and Hellofresh surged 10% and 6.8% respectively after their earnings reports, while Swiss software group Temenos jumped more than 15% top lead the Stoxx 600 after Bloomberg reported that it had received a takeover approach from private equity firm Thoma Bravo.
At the bottom of the European blue chip index, Swedish cloud computing company Sinch fell more than 9% after its quarterly results.
Data releases include euro area consumer confidence and economic sentiment figures for April.