LONDON: European shares bounced back from losses in the previous session, boosted by firmer energy and carmaker stocks, yet remained set to record a loss for the week.
The region’s stock markets have been hit this week by an emissions test scandal at Volkswagen and new signs of a slowdown in China, while the prospect of an imminent U.S. interest rate rise has also weighed on equities.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index, which ended down 2.1 percent on Thursday, swung back up by 2.5 percent, while the euro zone’s blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index also climbed by a similar amount.
Nevertheless, the FTSEurofirst remained down by around 2 percent from the end of last week.
Germany’s DAX, which has suffered this week due to the problems at Volkswagen, rose 2.3 percent, while energy stocks were boosted by stronger oil prices.
However, the DAX remains some 20 percent below a record high of 12,390.75 points reached in April, and some traders said they would look to play it safe by selling out on market rallies in case the market were to resume a downwards trajectory later.
“I think the best strategy for now is to sell into strength on the DAX,” said Logic Investments’ Ryan Mitchell.
Volkswagen, which has admitted cheating on exhaust emissions tests, rose 2.6 percent, although its shares are still down some 30 percent on the week.
Traders said signs that VW would name Matthias Mueller, head of its Porsche sports car brand, as chief executive showed VW’s determination to tackle the crisis that has engulfed the carmaker.
Rival carmaker BMW also rose 5 percent after German car magazine Auto Bild clarified an earlier report to say it had no evidence of emissions data manipulation at BMW.
Zodiac Aerospace slid 8 percent after media reports and an industry blog said the French company – which makes airplane seats and other equipment – had lost a contract with American Airlines.
However, France’s benchmark CAC equity index rose 2.6 percent, partly boosted by data showing a French consumer confidence index at its highest level since October 2007.
Some investors said they were positive on the longer-term outlook for European shares, despite the weak data coming out of China and a possible rise in U.S. interest rates.
They pointed to signs of an economic improvement in Europe, and stimulus measures from theEuropean Central Bank as helping to support the region’s stock markets.
“We are positioned for improvements in domestic consumption in Europe, particularly in countries such as Spain and Italy, which already show considerable signs of improvement, and also inFrance where valuations are low and there are early signs of a belated recognition of the need for reform,” said Ali Miremadi, fund manager at Taube Hodson Stonex Partners.