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European stocks make tentative gains amid global growth worries

by wrich
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(Reuters) -European stocks rose from two-month lows on Tuesday, as bargain hunters returned to buy beaten-down shares following a bruising selloff on worries about a sharp slowdown in the global economic growth.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 1.2%, with most sectors barring defensive healthcare stocks gaining.

Global stocks have been hammered in May, with high-growth stocks bearing the brunt on worries that major central banks will aggressively raise interest rates to curb inflation. On Wall Street, the tech-heavy Nasdaq dropped more than 4% on Monday.

The STOXX 600 has shed nearly 6% in May as China’s COVID lockdowns, the Ukraine war and worries about quicker interest rate hikes overshadowed an upbeat quarterly earnings season.

“We’re in this process where liquidity is being withdrawn and hope is confronted with reality, and that makes it a bit difficult,” said Sebastien Galy, senior macro strategist at Nordea Asset Management.

“Tactically, people might buy on the dip but it doesn’t mean that it’s attractive.”

The European Central Bank policymakers are also becoming more vocal about normalising monetary policy more quickly with inflation running at a record high in the euro zone.

Investors are awaiting data on German investor sentiment at 0900 GMT, expected to slip further in May.

Among individual stocks, Swedish Match AB jumped 23.7% after U.S. tobacco company Philip Morris International Inc said it is in talks to buy the smaller rival.

French carmaker Renault Group rose 1.1% as China’s Geely Automobile Holdings agreed to acquire around 34% of Renault Korea Motors for 264 billion won ($206.79 million).

Agriculture and pharmaceuticals company Bayer inched up 0.1% after better-than-expected quarterly adjusted earnings on strong gains at its seeds and pesticides business.

Norwegian aerospace and defence company Kongsberg Gruppen slid 12% after reporting a fall in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization due to logistics challenges and component shortages.

($1 = 1,276.6800 won)

(Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich and Arun Koyyur)

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