European stocks climb as ECB chief Draghi hints at more stimulus

European stocks jumped Thursday, grasping onto a signal from European Central Bank President Mario Draghi that more efforts to strengthen the eurozone economy may be in the pipeline.

The Stoxx Europe 600 SXXP, +1.93% climbed 2% to 328.80, with the basic materials SXPR, +7.08% health care and telecom sectors lead all sectors higher.

The index jumped to intraday highs as Draghi, speaking at a news conference in Frankfurt, said the central bank may “possibly reconsider” its stance on monetary policy at its March meeting as global market turmoil raises downside risks for the eurozone economy. Inflation dynamics are weaker than expected, he said. Follow MarketWatch’s live blog of Draghi’s news conference.

Draghi “clearly and unequivocally opened the door wide for more action. By indicating that rates will remain at current low level of lower is a signal that the -30 [basis points] deposit rate has not exhausted room for more cuts,” said Marc Chandler, global head of currency strategy at Brown Brothers Harriman, in a note.

While equity investors embraced the prospect of more funding being pumped into the economy , the euro EURUSD, -0.4591% slid as further stimulus is considered to be drag on the currency’s value. The euro slumped nearly 1% against the U.S. dollar to $1.0815 after Draghi’s remark. It had bought $1.0898 shortly before. The euro late Wednesday fetched $1.0886.

In the bond markets, the yield on the 10-year German bund TMBMKDE-10Y, -6.88% considered the eurozone benchmark, dropped 4 basis points to 0.377%, the lowest in nearly nine months. Prices and yields move inversely.

Draghi in December said a program under which the ECB purchases 60 billion euros of mostly government debt each month would be extended through March 2017. Investors then were largely disappointed the ECB hadn’t been more aggressive in ramping up its stimulus efforts.

Indexes, oil: European stocks had been somewhat choppy ahead of Draghi’s news conference and after a slide in global markets Wednesday left the Stoxx 600 at its lowest in more than a year. The battering of equities worldwide was spurred in large part as oil prices were shoved down another leg lower.

On Thursday, West Texas Intermediate oil CLH6, +6.35% was keeping a fragile hold on $28 a barrel. Brent crude LCOH6, +6.10% held below $28 a barrel.

Still struggling Thursday were shares of Deutsche Bank AG DBK, -3.08% DBK, -3.36% although they had come off their lows of the day,. They dropped 5% after the German banking heavyweight warned of a fourth-quarter loss of 2.1 billion euros ($2.3 billion) because of litigation and restructuring charges. Revenue is also expected to decline.

Deutsche Bank put in the worst performance on Germany’s DAX 30 DAX, +1.94% But the DAX pushed higher in afternoon trade, rising 1.9% to 9,571.70.

France’s CAC 40 PX1, +1.97% moved up 1.8% to 4,196.95, and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 UKX, +1.77% picked up 1.3% to 5,745.74.

Among top advancers on both the FTSE 100 and the Stoxx 600 was Pearson PLC PSON, +17.41% Shares rallied 16% after the education specialist said it’s cutting 4,000 jobs as part of a fresh cost-saving plan to drive profit.

Source: MarketWatch

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