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European shares break 6-day losing streak as ECB acts to halt bond rout

·2-min read
German share price index DAX graph is pictured at the stock exchange in Frankfurt

By Sruthi Shankar and Bansari Mayur Kamdar

(Reuters) -European stocks snapped their six day losing streak on Wednesday after the European Central Bank (ECB) announced measures to temper a bond market rout, even as some investors looking for a more decisive action were disappointed.

After an unscheduled meeting, the ECB said it would skew reinvestments of maturing debt to help more indebted euro zone members and would devise a new instrument to stop a fragmentation of the bloc's bond market.

An index of euro zone shares gained 1.6%, bouncing off lows hit after the statement. Euro zone banks climbed 2.5%, but were off highs hit earlier in the session.

"The markets’ reaction will be a relief to them (ECB policymakers), but they need to deliver on the anti-fragmentation tool relatively quickly if they want to maintain a hawkish rate outlook," said Andrew Mulliner, head of global aggregate strategies at Janus Henderson.

"The reality is that an anti-fragmentation tool is much less well suited to tighter policy as it is to looser policy and the only other period the ECB has had to close spreads has been in an environment of wanting to maintain or loosen policy."

Italian bank stocks, which have been hit hard recently on fears about Rome's surging debt costs, trimmed some gains, but were still trading 4.3% higher as bond yields fell.

Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve will release its policy decision at 1800 GMT, with most traders expecting a bigger 75 basis point interest rate hike, following a hot U.S. inflation reading last week.

The pan-European STOXX 600 advanced 1.4% following six straight session of losses on worries that aggressive U.S. rate hikes will push the world's largest economy into a recession.

Among individual stocks, Swedish medical equipment maker Getinge slumped 17.5% after cutting its sales forecast for 2022.

H&M, the world's second biggest fashion retailer, fell 6.5% despite posting a bigger-than-expected rise in quarterly sales.

(Reporting by Sruthi Shankar and Bansari Mayur Kamdar in Bengaluru Additional reporting by Devik Jain Editing by Arun Koyyur and Mark Potter)

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