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Europe: Shares claw back losses after Wall Street bounce

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[LONDON] European shares clawed back losses on Friday, buoyed by a bounce on Wall Street as a turbulent week drew to a close and investors licked their wounds after the region's benchmark Stoxx 600 sank to its lowest level since US President Donald Trump's election.

The Stoxx 600 ended the day up 1.9 per cent, its biggest daily performance since last April.

The pan-European benchmark had touched a low of 327.34 points on Thursday, its worst since Nov 9, 2016.

The rise on the continent's stock market didn't match, however, the past two-day surge on US indexes that saw the benchmark S&P 500 index gain 5.9 per cent, its best performance since late August 2015.

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Christmas week has been a wild ride for investors, with US and European stocks suffering significant losses on Dec 24.

Threats continued to lurk with a US government shutdown ongoing after a brief session of Congress on Thursday afternoon took no steps towards ending it.

"It sounds increasingly contrarian but my feeling is that, particularly if we get the transmission mechanism of a lower dollar, stocks outside the US are set up for a good 2019," said Chris Bailey, strategist at Raymond James.

Overall, analysts expect earnings from companies in Europe's Stoxx 600 to grow 8.4 per cent in 2019, the latest Refinitiv IBES estimates show. That's more than the 7.6 per cent earnings growth expected for the S&P 500.

"My feeling is corporate earnings in Europe will surprise a few people in 2019," said Mr Bailey. "Earnings growth of 8.5 per cent is more credible for Europe than for the S&P 500, which is a regime shift."

All sectors in Europe rose during the session and among them technology jumped 2.4 per cent.

Chipmaker AMS topped the Stoxx with a 10.2 per cent leap.

Tech has been one of the worst-hit parts of the market as investors grew scared that waning economic growth and a US -China trade war would suck the momentum out of high-growth companies.

Banks also rallied, up 2.3 per cent since hitting their lowest point since August 2016 on Thursday.

One of the most notable mover was UK inkjet printer technology maker Xaar, whose shares fell 8 per cent to their lowest in more than eight years after a profit warning.

REUTERS