European shares claw back losses after Wall Street bounce

LONDON (Reuters) - European shares clawed back losses on Friday, buoyed by a bounce on Wall Street as a turbulent week drew to a close and investors licked their wounds after the region’s benchmark STOXX 600 sank to its lowest level since U.S. President Donald Trump’s election.

The German share price index DAX graph is pictured at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, December 27, 2018. REUTERS/Staff

The STOXX 600 .STOXX ended the day up 1.9 percent, its biggest daily performance since last April.

The pan-European benchmark had touched a low of 327.34 points on Thursday, its worst since Nov. 9, 2016.

The rise on the continent’s stock market didn’t match, however, the past two-day surge on U.S. indexes that saw the benchmark S&P 500 index gain 5.9 percent, its best performance since late August 2015.

Christmas week has been a wild ride for investors, with U.S. and European stocks suffering significant losses on Dec. 24.

Threats continued to lurk with a U.S. government shutdown ongoing after a brief session of Congress on Thursday afternoon took no steps toward ending it.

“It sounds increasingly contrarian but my feeling is that, particularly if we get the transmission mechanism of a lower dollar, stocks outside the U.S. are set up for a good 2019,” said Chris Bailey, strategist at Raymond James.

Overall, analysts expect earnings from companies in Europe's STOXX 600 to grow 8.4 percent in 2019, the latest Refinitiv IBES estimates show. That's more than the 7.6 percent earnings growth expected for the S&P 500 .SPX.

“My feeling is corporate earnings in Europe will surprise a few people in 2019,” said Bailey. “Earnings growth of 8.5 percent is more credible for Europe than for the S&P 500, which is a regime shift.”

All sectors in Europe rose during the session and among them technology .SX8P jumped 2.4 percent.

Chipmaker AMS AMS.S topped the STOXX with a 10.2 percent leap.

Tech has been one of the worst-hit parts of the market as investors grew scared that waning economic growth and a U.S.-China trade war would suck the momentum out of high-growth companies.

Banks .SX7P also rallied, up 2.3 percent since hitting their lowest point since August 2016 on Thursday.

One of the most notable mover was UK inkjet printer technology maker Xaar XAR.L, whose shares fell 8 percent to their lowest in more than eight years after a profit warning.

Reporting by Helen Reid; Editing by Toby Chopra