European shares jump as Credit Suisse bailout offsets ECB rate hike

March 17, 2023 04:04 AM AEDT | By Reuters
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ECB pushes through 50 bps hike despite market turmoil


Credit Suisse secures $54 bln lifeline, shares jump


Rentokil climbs after lifting revenue, cost saving forecasts


STOXX 600 up 1.3%, Euro zone banks gain 1.4%

(Updates prices to close; adds details, comments)

By Ankika Biswas and Bansari Mayur Kamdar

March 16 (Reuters) - European shares jumped on Thursday as a lifeline from the Swiss National Bank to Credit Suisse helped ease fears of a global banking crisis, offsetting concerns around the European Central Bank's big 50-basis point interest rate hike.

The STOXX 600 closed the day 1.3% higher after dropping 0.6% and touching a fresh 10-week low following the rate hike decision.

The index has lost 2.6% so far this week as bank stocks bled in the aftermath of U.S. lender Silicon Valley Bank's collapse last week.

The banks sector index also gained 1.2%, bouncing back from an intraday 1% drop following the rate hike, while the index for euro zone banks rose 1.4%.

In a much-needed boost to the banking sector, which has lost 9% so far this week, Credit Suisse secured a lifeline from the Swiss central bank to shore up investor confidence.

Shares in the Zurich-based lender jumped 19.2% on Thursday after tumbling 24% to a fresh record low in the previous session.

"There appears to be a lifeline for the beleaguered lender, which should prevent another Lehman moment, much to the relief of markets and Credit Suisse's investors," said Victoria Scholar, head of investment at interactive investor.

Lender-heavy indexes of Spain and Italy also advanced more than 1% each.

The ECB raised its three policy rates by 50 basis points to 3.50% in its sixth consecutive rate hike, while dropping its forward guidance that was perceived as a positive by the market.

"Compared to the message that the ECB had given earlier - hike, hike, hike - the abandoning of forward guidance is implicitly a way of easing, and it's the right response," said Andrea Cicione, head of research at TS Lombard.

Further, the central bank cut its inflation projections and lifted its growth projection for this year after the bloc avoided a winter recession.

The technology sector index jumped 2.9%, its strongest one-day gain in more than a month, tracking U.S. peers.

Among other major movers, Glencore rose nearly 3% on reports that the miner will not renew a $16-billion deal to buy aluminium from Russia's largest producer.

Pest control company Rentokil Initial jumped 10.1% after lifting its medium-term revenue and cost saving forecasts.

British lender OSB Group marched 9.4% up after reporting higher full-year profit.

On the other hand, Aroundtown lost 10.2% and dropped to the bottom of the STOXX 600 after peer Grand City Properties suspended its dividend payout and slid 6.8%. (Reporting by Bansari Mayur Kamdar and Ankika Biswas in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu, Krishna Chandra Eluri and Jan Harvey)


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