Photographer: Vincent Mundy/Bloomberg

Europe Stocks Steady as Energy Firms Trim Drop, Drugmakers Jump

European equities ended the session little changed as energy companies pared losses amid a rebound in oil prices and pharmaceutical stocks widened their advance.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose less than 0.1 percent at the close after losing as much as 0.6 percent earlier in the day. Drugmakers rose 2 percent, tracking a rally in U.S. peers, after Senate Republican leaders revealed a draft of health-care plan. Energy stocks slid 0.3 percent at the close, narrowing their losses from as much as 1.7 percent earlier in the day.

  • Health-care companies rose 2 percent to close at the highest level since December 2015
  • Among shares moving on corporate news, Novartis AG climbed 5 percent after a study showed one of its drugs reduces cardiovascular risk in people who survived a heart attack.
  • “Equities are still the least unattractive asset class,” Barclays Plc’s Ajay Rajadhyaksha and Michael Gavin wrote in a note. “Investors should resist the contrarian temptation to retreat from equity risk, in part because safe assets are similarly richly valued.”
  • In the U.S., Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank President Patrick Harkertells said in an interview with the Financial Times that it would be prudent for the central bank to “‘pause” on the next rate increase. March 2018 is the first month in which traders are pricing in at least even odds of a hike, Fed fund futures show.
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