European stocks rise on earnings optimism, hopes of dovish ECB

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European stocks extended gains for a third straight session on Thursday, as signs of a strong earnings season and expectations that the European Central Bank will stick to a dovish policy stance bolstered market sentiment.

The pan-European STOXX 600 rose 0.5% by 0714 GMT. The index closed 1.7% higher on Wednesday, recovering fully from a sharp selloff earlier this week.

Sweden-based private equity firm EQT jumped 9.5% to the top of STOXX 600 after reporting upbeat first-half earnings.

Swiss engineering company ABB climbed 2.3% to hit its highest level since November 2007 after it doubled its full-year sales outlook.

Consumer goods giant Unilever Plc slid 4.0% after it cut its full-year operating margin forecast due to surging commodity costs.

Euro zone stocks rose 0.7% ahead of the ECB’s policy decision, due later in the day, when it is all but certain to promise an even longer period of stimulus to make good on its commitment to boost inflation. (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)