Stocks – Europe Higher, Boosted by Deutsche Telekom, Covestro

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By Peter Nurse – European stock markets pushed higher Wednesday, helped by strong earnings from index heavyweight Deutsche Telekom (DE:), while market participants looking to central banks to mitigate the damage caused by the outbreak of the coronavirus in China.

At 03:50 ET (0850 GMT), the U.K.’s index traded 0.8% higher, France’s was up 0.5%, while the was 0.4% higher. The broad based index posted another record high, gaining 0.6% to 432.96.

Shares in Deutsche Telekom (DE:) rose 2.7% after reporting bottom line gains of 80% year-on-year, with U.S. unit T-Mobile (NASDAQ:) gleaning millions more customers ahead of a merger with competitor Sprint (NYSE:).

This made 2019 “the most successful year in the history of the company,” Deutsche Telekom (DE:) said in a statement.

Earlier Wednesday, while stock markets in China traded lower, many neighboring countries saw gains, helping the overall tone in Europe. In Japan, the closed 0.9% higher, while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong gained 0.5% and the in South Korea rose 0.1%.

“Part of the thinking that is supporting markets is the actions that China takes to support its economy,” said Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets in Sydney.

“Any investor concern around impact on demand globally from the virus will be offset by expectations that global central banks will ride to the rescue.”

Elsewhere in Europe, shares in International Airlines Group (LON:), the owner of British Airways, climbed 1.3% after Qatar Airways Group increased its stake to 25.1%, a vote of confidence in the group’s strategy.

Looking at European economic data, there are U.K. inflation numbers for January, at 04:30 AM ET (0930 GMT). Expectations are for an acceleration in the headline consumer price index to 1.6% from 1.3% in January. This is still below the Bank of England’s 2% target, but could weaken the case for rate cuts in the coming months.

Oil markets rebounded Wednesday on the back of the U.S. decision to sanction a trading subsidiary of Russia’s Rosneft for helping transport Venezuela’s oil to refineries in India and China. This move may cut aggregate supply marginally.

AT 03:55 AM ET (0855 GMT), futures traded 0.7% higher at $52.68 a barrel and rose 0.6% to $58.09.

Additionally, rose 0.4% to $1,610.65/oz, holding above the physiologically important $1,600 level for the first time since U.S.-Iran tensions sent it spiking to $1,611.42 in early January. traded at 1.0806, after pushing as low as $1.0786 for the first time since April 2017.

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