The Business Times

Europe: Shares break 6-day losing streak as ECB acts to halt bond rout

Published Thu, Jun 16, 2022 · 06:10 AM

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 per cent, bouncing off lows hit after the statement.

Euro zone banks climbed 2.5 per cent, 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.”

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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 per cent higher as bond yields fell.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 advanced 1.4 per cent following six straight session of losses on worries that aggressive US rate hikes will push the world’s largest economy into a recession.

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

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

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