After a bruising week, hit by energy companies' losses and banking woes, European stock indices scored big gains today as traders close massive sell positions, especially on baking stocks like Deutsche bank and Societe Generale. Some traders hope that additional stimulus measures in March by the European Central Bank would prop up stock valuations and growth rates overall.
The pan-European index FTSEurofirst 300 soared 2.23% to 1,222, while Germany's DAX index climbed 180 points, or more than two percent as well to 8,930. France's CAC 40 index gained 70 points, or 1.75% to trade at 3,965. Britain's FTSE100 index advanced 112 points, or 2.03% to hover around 5,649.
Oil prices rose sharply as well after coming near 13-year lows earlier in the week, with Brent crude futures driving up $1.55, or 5.12% to trade at $31.60 a barrel, while U.S. crude futures surged $1.75, or 6.47% to $27.92 a barrel, but still mired below the $30 level however.
A batch of positive U.S. data was released earlier, with retail sales in January growing 0.2% m/m, better than expectations of a 0.1% growth, while core retail sales, which exclude volatile automobiles, rose 0.1% m/m, beating forecasts of a flat result. Import prices on the other hand fell 1.1% m/m in January, still quite better than expectations of a 1.4% fall.
The dollar index rebounded handily, jumping more than half a percent to 96.16, while the greenback powered up 0.75% versus the euro to 1.1236. Sterling slid 0.16% against the dollar to 1.4453, while the yen lost 0.50% to trade at 112.93 per dollar.