March 20, 2020 / 8:31 AM / 16 days ago

European shares bounce for second day on stimulus hopes

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March 20 (Reuters) - European shares jumped for a second straight session on Friday, as a wave of fiscal and monetary stimulus tempted investors back into equity markets after days of selling on signs the world was heading into a deep, coronavirus-driven recession.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index was up 4.9% at 0814 GMT and on course to erase the entire week’s declines.

Travel and leisure stocks jumped 7.6% in a surprise move, leading gains among the major European subsectors, while energy firms added 7.3% on the back of a recovery in oil prices.

Bank stocks jumped 4.2% from their lowest in three decades after the UK’s central bank joined its European peers in suspending stress tests for 2020.

Still, the STOXX 600 was on track for its worst month since October 1987 as the rapidly spreading coronavirus forced several nations in the bloc to impose a lockdown.

Italian shares lagged other major stock markets as the death toll from COVID-19 in the country overtook that of China, where the disease first emerged late last year. (Reporting by Sagarika Jaisinghani in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)

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