Saturday, April 1

Oil stocks drive a bounce in European shares

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European shares inched higher on Friday as oil stocks rose on firmer crude prices, though gains were capped by lingering worries over inflation and looming central bank rate hikes.

The pan-European STOXX 600 rose 0.4% after dropping nearly 2% in its previous session. Oil stocks led the gains, adding 1.4% to the benchmark after crude prices climbed higher as frigid weather swept across large swathes of the United States, threatening to further disrupt oil supplies.

The euro headed for its best week since March 2020 after the European Central Bank acknowledged mounting inflationary risks and left the door open to rate hikes this year.

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Italy’s biggest bank Intesa Sanpaolo edged 0.7% higher after posting a 2021 net profit of 4.2 billion euros ($4.8 billion) and said it would carry out a 3.4 billion euro share buyback, in addition to cash dividends of 2.9 billion euros over 2021 results.

Shares of Sanofi advanced 1.8% after the French drugmaker posted upbeat quarterly numbers and said it still expected its COVID-19 vaccine to win approval in the first quarter and help drive further earnings growth this year.

Dutch navigation and digital mapping company TomTom plunged 13.9% after the company flagged the prospect of more supply chain constraints in 2022, as it reported a bigger-than-expected quarterly core loss. (Reporting by Anisha Sircar in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob- Phillips)