The pan-European Stoxx 600 edged up 0.3% in early trade, with autos jumping 1% to lead gains as almost all sectors and major bourses entered positive territory.
Stocks worldwide began a tentative recovery Wednesday as the Chinese government’s plans to contain the virus seemed to ease equity investors’ concerns over a possible pandemic, though markets will remain attuned to news out of China.
U.S. stocks fell on Tuesday after the Centers for Disease Control confirmed the first U.S. case of a mysterious virus that has infected hundreds in China. Health officials have also confirmed cases in Thailand, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan.
However, stocks on Wall Street are expected to bounce back on Wednesday morning.
In other news, market focus in the region will continue to be on the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland. In a keynote speech Tuesday, U.S. President Donald Trump urged other countries to “put their own citizens first.”
He said America’s “newfound prosperity” is undeniable and said the country had “achieved this stunning turnaround not by making minor changes to a handful of policies, but by adopting a whole new approach centered entirely on the well-being of the American worker.”
At WEF on Wednesday, CNBC is hosting a ‘Future of Financial Markets’ panel featuring U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva, U.K. Chancellor Sajid Javid and UBS Chairman Axel Weber.
Housebuilder Berkeley Group saw its shares climb 5.4% in early deals after announcing that it would increase its returns to shareholders by around £455 million ($593.3 million) to investors over the next two years.
Meanwhile, Gjensidige stock added 4.1% after the Norwegian insurer beat fourth-quarter earnings expectations.
At the other end of the European benchmark, K+S shares fell 5.4% after Bank of America rated the German chemical company’s stock as “underperform.”
Hygiene products group Essity slipped 4.1% after warning that price cuts would hit its first-quarter profits in 2020.