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European stocks end higher as mood improves, Lufthansa jumps

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06/25/2020 | 12:46pm EDT
The German share price index DAX graph is pictured at the stock exchange in Frankfurt

By Sruthi Shankar

European stocks closed higher on Thursday, as improving economic data and more support from the European Central Bank helped lift sentiment, while shares in Germany's Lufthansa jumped after a top shareholder backed a government bailout.

The pan-European STOXX 600 closed up 0.7% after a choppy session with automakers, financial services, banks <.SX7P> and insurers the top gainers, rising between 1.6% and 2.4%.

Stocks picked up steam after the ECB said it would offer euro loans against collateral to central banks outside the euro area to backstop funding markets amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"The ECB took a fresh initiative today that caught the market by surprise and is helping lift financial shares today," said Marc Chandler at Bannockburn Global Forex.

Lufthansa jumped 7.1% after billionaire investor Heinz Hermann Thiele dropped his objections to a 9 billion euro (£8.1 billion) government bailout of the airline.

Meanwhile, in a first for a constituent of Germany's prestigious DAX, payments firm Wirecard collapsed owing creditors almost $4 billion after disclosing a gaping hole in its books. Its shares slumped 71.3%.

The auto-heavy German index gained 0.7% overall, boosted by Daimler, Volkswagen and BMW.

After upbeat euro zone business activity readings for June earlier this week, a gauge of German consumer morale improved heading into July, raising hopes for an steady recovery from the coronavirus crisis.

However, surging COVID-19 cases in the United States, prospects of a fresh EU-U.S. trade tussle and a worrying forecast for global economy put the STOXX 600 on track for weekly losses.

Budget airline easyJet was down 9.5% after raising about 419 million pounds through a share placement to help bolster its finances.

Sanofi edged up 0.9% after Reuters reported the drugmaker is considering cutting hundreds of jobs.

Bayer AG ended down 2.9%, reversing earlier gains, after agreeing to pay as much as $10.9 billion to settle U.S. lawsuits claiming that its widely used weedkiller Roundup caused cancer.

(Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva, Kirsten Donovan)

Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
BAYER AG -0.55% 57.62 Delayed Quote.-20.86%
BMW AG -1.00% 58.28 Delayed Quote.-20.32%
DAIMLER AG -0.73% 42.31 Delayed Quote.-14.30%
DAX -0.50% 12993.71 Delayed Quote.-1.93%
DEUTSCHE LUFTHANSA AG -1.21% 8.782 Delayed Quote.-46.48%
EASYJET PLC -3.57% 610.8 Delayed Quote.-57.12%
EURO STOXX 50 -0.60% 3342.85 Delayed Quote.-10.20%
SANOFI -1.37% 86.99 Real-time Quote.-2.93%
STOXX EUROPE 600 -0.63% 372.53 Delayed Quote.-9.85%
STOXX EUROPE 600 NR -0.55% 817.78 Delayed Quote.-8.37%
VOLKSWAGEN AG -1.37% 138.74 Delayed Quote.-21.28%
WIRECARD AG -10.56% 1.44 Delayed Quote.-98.66%
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