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LIVE MARKETS-At the open: Oil stocks surge, no rebound for banks

Welcome to the home for real-time coverage of European equity markets brought to you by Reuters stocks reporters. You can share your thoughts with Thyagaraju Adinarayan (thyagaraju.adinarayan@thomsonreuters.com), Joice Alves (joice.alves@thomsonreuters.com) and Julien Ponthus (julien.ponthus@thomsonreuters.com) in London.



AT THE OPEN: OIL STOCKS JUMP, NO REBOUND FOR BANKS (0742 GMT)

Oil and gas stocks are leading European bourses today amid surging oil prices and hopes Saudi Arabia and Russia could soon reach a deal to end their price war.

The sector is up over 5% and lifting the broader indexes thanks to heavyweight majors such Royal Dutch Shell gaining close to 9%.

The broader pan-European STOXX 600 rose initially by a cautious 0.5% but gradually slowed down -0.2%.

Travel & Leisure and leisure stocks, which have become somewhat of a 'greed and fear" gauge in the coronavirus crisis are clear laggards.

There's no rebound in sight for European banks which had a very bad session on Wednesday with a 5.8% drop due to a flurry of dividend cuts. Lenders are up 0.3% but that's not much of a catch-up.

British mid-cap stood out with a 0.5% dip at the open, but it is gaining some ground now. The FTSE 250 was dragged down notably by Hays, one of the world's biggest recruiter, which announced an emergency 200 million pound to prop up its finances.

(Julien Ponthus)

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ON THE RADAR: TEXTBOOK CORPORATE CORONAVIRUS HEADLINES (0634 GMT)

Still no clear trend yet for European stocks as investors brace for another likely spooky record week for U.S. jobless claims.

In the meantime, it’s 'same old' in terms of corporate news this morning in Europe with another batch of dividend cuts, executive bonus cuts (Daimler, Sodexo) , guidance dropped and job/production freezes (Volkswagen in Mexico).

One of the most spectacular headline on the latter is British Airways expected to announce suspension of about 36,000 of its employees.

Another illustration of what has become the textbook reaction to the crisis, France’s Engie scrapped its 2019 dividend and withdrew its 2020 guidance.

Note however that Switzerland is resisting the dividend cut trend with private bank EFG International confirming its dividend and joining the ranks of Swiss lenders going ignoring pressure from regulators.

What’s quite encouraging however Pernod Ricard raising 1.5 billion euros through a bond sale which will be used to refinance bank debt facilities.

There’s also some optimism on the oil front with Trump saying he expects Saudi Arabia and Russia to reach a deal soon to end their oil price war.

But there’s absolutely no shortages of signs of financial stress with Investment manager Royal London suspending dealings in property funds.

On the broader M&A front, Novartis scrapped the sale of its U.S. dermatology and generic pill assets to India's Aurobindo Pharma after failing to get approval from a U.S. regulator.

Here's the a link to the top news for European companies:


(Julien Ponthus)

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MORNING CALL: WAIT AND SEE (0528 GMT)

European futures are just slightly in the red at the moment while their Wall Street peers are trading close to 1% up after yesterday's tumble.

One piece of positive news is crude oil futures jumping after Trump said he expected Saudi Arabia and Russia to reach a deal to end their oil price war.

But with investors bracing for another likely record week of U.S. jobless claims, there's no reason to rush into risk assets just now.

The mood in Asia remained very cautious overnight with MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan falling 0.5% and Japan's Nikkei down 1.2%.


(Julien Ponthus)

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(Reporting by Danilo Masoni, Joice Alves, Julien Ponthus and Thyagaraju Adinarayan)