European shares up for fourth day as central banks weigh in

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(Reuters) – European shares rose for a fourth straight session on Thursday, as the action taken this week by several major central banks to ease the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on growth fed through into financial markets.

The main European equity benchmark () rose 0.6% by 0813 GMT, showing steady gains for the first time since a market rout in late February.

The outbreak shows little signs of peaking globally, with Italy closing all schools and California declaring a state of emergency, but investors are hopeful stimulus from governments and central banks will protect the global economy.

Analysts firmly expect the European Central Bank to cut interest rates by 10 basis points next month, joining the U.S. Federal Reserve and its peers in Canada and Australia in reducing borrowing costs.

London shares (), however, were up just 0.06% as the Bank of England’s next governor Andrew Bailey said it should wait for more clarity about the economic hit from the outbreak before making any decision to cut rates.

Among individual movers, German auto supplier Continental (DE:) slumped 6.7% after it posted a net loss of 1.2 billion euros ($1.34 billion) in 2019, as the company suffered from a global downturn in demand for passenger cars.

Meanwhile, science and technology company Merck KGaA (DE:) rose 4.6% after it forecast “strong” growth core earnings for 2020.

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