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European shares slip as U.S. reserve release plan pressures oil stocks

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The German share price index DAX graph is pictured at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, March 30, 2022. REUTERS/Staff

(Reuters) – European shares edged higher on Thursday, led by gains in automobile and defensive sectors, while oil stocks tumbled as a U.S. plan to tap into its strategic petroleum reserves weakened crude prices.

The pan-European stock index rose 0.2%, despite a 1.5% drop in oil stocks.

London’s energy- and materials-heavy FTSE 100 index rose 0.1%, after data showed Britain’s economy grew more quickly than previously thought in the fourth quarter.

The STOXX 600 is down about 5.5% for the January-March period and looks set to end a seven quarter winning streak, as investors remain circumspect in the face of the Ukraine crisis and its impact on inflation and economic growth.

For the month, however, the index was on course to log its first gain of 2022.

Sweden’s H&M slumped 7.9% after reporting a smaller profit than expected for the December-February period, its fiscal first quarter.

European shares rise marginally; oil stocks slide as U.S. plans reserve release

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