European stocks close higher as traders trail earnings, Ukraine

LONDON (AP) — European stocks closed higher Thursday as investors digested a new batch of corporate earnings and watched developments in the war between Russia and Ukraine.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 index closed 0.4% higher, with industrials rising 1.9% to lead gains as most sectors and stocks ended in positive territory.

Earnings were the big driver of individual stock price movement on Thursday. Finnish mining services company Metso Outotec was the day’s top performer, up more than 11% after reporting strong orders in the first quarter.

AkzoNobel shares rose nearly 7% after the Dutch paint and coatings maker reported stronger-than-expected quarterly earnings. The company said higher prices helped offset cost pressures resulting from supply chain issues, the resurgence of Covid in China and the war in Ukraine.

At the opposite end of the benchmark, Kinnevik plunged almost 10% after the Swedish investment firm posted a 6% drop in its net asset value.

In geopolitical news, the war in Ukraine remains at the forefront of the minds of market participants in Europe, with the second phase of the conflict, focusing on the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine, now in full swing.

Russia has set a new surrender ultimatum in the badly destroyed city of Mariupol, where Ukrainian forces and hundreds of civilians are reportedly holed up in the Azovstal steel plant. Meanwhile, officials in Ukraine continue to call for more arms support and faster delivery as Russia steps up its bombardment of Donbas.

The Ukraine War has catalyzed a tsunami of negative economic events in the world economy, and markets remain largely blind to the long-term consequences.

bill blain

Strategist at Shard Capital

US President Joe Biden on Thursday authorized an additional $1.3 billion in security and direct economic assistance to Ukraine. Follow CNBC’s live blog for the latest developments in Ukraine.

On Wall Street, US stocks rose as investors digested more quarterly reports from the likes of Tesla and United Airlines. Weekly jobless claims came in slightly higher than expected on Thursday.

Investors are now waiting for a speech from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, who will speak at 1 pm ET during the International Monetary Fund’s debate on the global economy. The discussion will be moderated by CNBC’s Sara Eisen.

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— staff contributed to this market report.

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