April 28, 2020 / 7:39 AM / 4 months ago

European stocks inch higher as positive earnings counter oil, Wirecard slump

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April 28 (Reuters) - European shares hovered near two-week highs on Tuesday as a slate of strong earnings reports from companies, including Novartis and UBS, outweighed a slump in oil prices and shares of Wirecard.

The pan-European STOXX 600 was up 0.1% by 0722 GMT, after closing at its highest level since mid-April on Monday as many countries planned to ease coronavirus-induced lockdown measures.

Europe’s oil & gas sector shed 0.6% as oil prices sank on concerns about dwindling crude storage capacity worldwide.

London-based BP slipped 1.8% as it forecast significantly lower refining margins in the second quarter and its first-quarter profits tumbled by two-thirds as the health crisis hammered oil demand.

The biggest drag, however, was German financial services company Wirecard, which plunged 21.3% after it published results of an investigation by auditor KPMG.

Offering some respite to Europe’s battered banking sector , UBS gained 4.3% after reporting a 40% rise in January-March profit. nL5N2CG0L7]

Novartis rose 1% after it confirmed its 2020 targets as the pandemic prompted patients to stock up on their prescriptions in advance.

Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila

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