UPDATE 3-European stocks close third straight day higher; emergency fund vote eyed

Reuters

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    * STOXX 600 adds nearly 15% over past three sessions
    * Airbus gains on scaling back production
    * Travel and leisure stocks lead bounce-back 

 (Updates to close)
    By Ambar Warrick and Sagarika Jaisinghani
    March 26 (Reuters) - European stocks reversed course to end
higher on Thursday, tracking gains on Wall Street, while
investors awaited a vote by EU lawmakers on emergency funds to
cushion the blow from the coronavirus outbreak.
    U.S. stock indexes surged as a record reading in weekly
jobless claims added to the case for more stimulus measures to
combat the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.  .N 
    The pan-European STOXX 600 index  .STOXX  closed 2.6%
higher, adding nearly 15% over the past three sessions. The
index had fallen up to 2% earlier in the day. 
    The index is still down 26% from a record peak hit in
February, with a recession in Europe looking imminent in the
wake of widespread disruption to business due to coronavirus.
    European Union lawmakers were expected later on Thursday to
approve emergency funds to cushion the bloc's economic slump
triggered by the pandemic and shore up hard-hit airlines by
preserving their landing slots.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL4N2BJ2GX
    Overnight, the European Central Bank ditched a cap on how
many bonds it could buy from any single euro zone country,
clearing the way for potentially unlimited money-printing as
part of its response to the outbreak.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL8N2BJ0SR
    "Seems that markets think the medicine has been found and
that medicine is money. Today’s mover clearly is the jobless
claims report," said Teeuwe Mevissen, senior macro strategist at
Rabobank. 
    "Market consensus is that this frightening figure was
already priced in or could have been worse. I don’t buy this in
all honesty. I think markets seem to not realize the true nature
of what is going on and are priced for perfection." 
    The pandemic showed no signs of stopping, with a continued
uptick in cases and deaths across the bloc, while countries
introduced tougher measures to try and curb its spread.
 urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL8N2BJ7WN
    Italian  .FTMIB  and Spanish  .IBEX  bourses ended 0.7% and
1.3% higher, respectively. The number of fatalities from
COVID-19 in Italy topped 7,500, while those in Spain rose beyond
3,400, exceeding the total death toll in China.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL8N2AB5TN
    The European travel and leisure industry  .SXTP  led gains
for the day, adding about 7.5% as investors bought back into the
sector worst hit by the outbreak.
    German shares  .GDAXI  rose 1.3%, while a survey showed
consumer morale in Europe's biggest economy tumbled to its
lowest level since 2009.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nS8N27Z06L
    Among individual movers, plane maker Airbus  AIR.PA  was
among the largest gainers on the STOXX 600 after it said it was
reducing the production of aircraft wings as it slows operations
due to the pandemic.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL4N2BJ1JC
    

 (Reporting by Sagarika Jaisinghani in Bengaluru; Editing by
Shounak Dasgupta, Edmund Blair, William Maclean)
 ((Sagarika.Jaisinghani@thomsonreuters.com; within U.S. +1 646
223 8780; outside U.S. +91 80 6182 2256;))

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