European shares inch higher but set for worst quarter since 2002

  • Reuters
  • Stock Market News
European shares inch higher but set for worst quarter since 2002
Credit: © Reuters.

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March 31 (Reuters) - European stocks inched higher on Tuesday with investors buying into defensive sectors as they awaited further signs that the economy could weather the fallout from a near total global shutdown to curtail the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index .STOXX was up 1.1% at 0706 GMT, with real estate stocks .SX86P , utilities .SX6P and telecoms .SXKP — usually considered stable during heightened volatility — adding between 0.9% and 1.5%.

Still, the benchmark index was set to end its worst quarter since 2002, with investor confidence far from stable amid a rout that erased more than $3 trillion from the value of European firms in just over a month.

In a bright spot, HelloFresh HFGG.DE jumped 12% to a record high after the German meal-kit delivery firm forecast first-quarter revenue above market expectations.

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