Defensives, upbeat earnings lift European shares

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The pan-European STOXX 600 index (STOXX) rose 0.4% by 0726 GMT, with gains STILL led by telecoms (SXKP), healthcare (SXDP) and utilities (SX6P) – sectors that investors seek during times of economic uncertainty.

Boosting UK’s FTSE 100 (FTSE), Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD)’s shares (L:VOD) jumped 3.9% after the world’s second-largest mobile operator met expectations with a 2.6% rise in full-year core earnings and maintained its full-year dividend payout.

German broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1 Media (DE:PSMGn) surged 10.2% to the top of STOXX 600 after U.S. private equity house KKR (N:KKR) revealed that it had acquired a stake of 5.2% in the struggling company.

Gains in Europe followed a risk-averse mood in Asian trading hours after the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the pandemic originated, reported its first new cases since its lockdown was lifted.

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