Stock markets rebound after dramatic tumble

Global stocks rebound. (Photo: iStock)
Global stocks rebound. (Photo: iStock)

Stocks attempted a comeback on Thursday as Europe and Wall Street rallied, reversing some of Wednesday's bruising losses after a string of rosy earnings reports.

Wall Street notched solid gains as investors bought shares at reduced prices - even though all three major indices were still down sharply for the week.

In Europe, all major markets closed solidly in the black but London's FTSE index underperformed, held back by a steady pound and a weak sales outlook from advertiser WPP.

"After a severe sell-off it's perfectly normal to see the market rebound," analyst Adam Sarhan said. "The key question: Is it a one-or two-day rally or is it a new trend?"

Capital Economics analyst Oliver Jones also said that the rebound in US markets was unlikely to last.

"We think that the bounce in the S&P 500 today after its slump on Wednesday will prove temporary, as investors become even more worried about the outlook for the US economy in the next few quarters," he said.

Earlier, the European Central Bank's monthly monetary policy meeting contained no surprises, with the bank leaving interest rates and its exit calendar from mass bond-buying untouched.

ECB chief Mario Draghi said risks to the eurozone growth outlook were "broadly balanced", citing protectionism, vulnerabilities in emerging markets and financial market volatility as prominent downside risks.

"Not sexy, but highly effective," is how Carsten Brzeski, chief economist at ING Germany, described the ECB's determination to end the bond purchases, also known as quantitative easing (QE).

The ECB, he said, was on "autopilot" as far as the policy's implementation was concerned.

"It would require a severe downturn of the economy, not only weaker momentum, in the coming six weeks for the ECB to alter its course," Brzeski said.

Rough day in Asia

Earlier, the closely-watched Ifo survey of businesses in Germany showed falling confidence as the eurozone's largest economy faces gathering clouds over the single currency area.

Shares in AB InBev slumped after the Belgian-Brazilian beer giant slashed its dividend following a slide in quarterly profits for the brewer of Budweiser.

Earlier on Thursday, Asian stock markets closed sharply lower, tracking Wednesday's plunge on Wall Street, with trading floors awash with negativity on geopolitical concerns and following weak US economic and earnings data.

Global equities have been pummeled this year by a wave of problems led by the China-US trade war and rising Federal Reserve interest rates.

Among the strongest headwinds in recent weeks has been a brewing nuclear standoff between the United States and Russia, the high-profile killing of a Saudi journalist, Brexit, and Italy's budget row with the European Union.

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