European Stocks Close Higher as Traders Track Earnings and Ukraine Developments

Serhii Nuzhnenko | Reuters
  • European stocks closed higher Thursday as investors digested a fresh batch of corporate earnings.
  • The war in Ukraine is also top of mind for traders in Europe.

LONDON — European stocks closed higher Thursday as investors digested a fresh batch of corporate results and kept an eye on developments in the war between Russia and Ukraine.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 index closed up by 0.4%, with industrials rising 1.9% to lead the gains as most sectors and bourses finished in positive territory.

Earnings was the big driver of individual share price movement Thursday. Finnish mining services firm Metso Outotec was the top performer of the day, climbing more than 11% after reporting strong first-quarter orders.

AkzoNobel shares climbed almost 7% after the Dutch paints and coatings maker reported stronger-than-expected quarterly earnings. The company said higher pricing helped to offset cost pressures resulting from supply chain issues, China's Covid resurgence and the war in Ukraine.

At the opposite end of the benchmark, Kinnevik plunged nearly 10% after the Swedish investment firm posted a 6% decline in its net asset value.

In geopolitical news, the war in Ukraine remains at the forefront of market participants' minds in Europe, with the second phase of the conflict, focusing on the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine, fully underway now.

Russia has set a new ultimatum for surrender in the heavily destroyed city of Mariupol, where Ukrainian forces and reportedly hundreds of civilians are holed up in the Azovstal steel plant. Meanwhile, officials in Ukraine continue to call for more weapons support and faster delivery as Russia intensifies its bombardment of the Donbas.

U.S. President Joe Biden on Thursday authorized a further $1.3 billion in security and direct economic assistance to Ukraine. Follow CNBC's live blog for the latest developments in Ukraine.

On Wall Street, U.S. stocks rose as investors digested more quarterly reports from the likes of Tesla and United Airlines. Weekly jobless claims came in slightly higher than expected Thursday.

Investors are now awaiting a speech from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, who will talk at 1 p.m. ET during the International Monetary Fund Debate on the Global Economy. The discussion will be moderated by CNBC's Sara Eisen.

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— staff contributed to this market report.

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