- Draghi sounds dovish note
- Clashes in Ukraine, Russia starts military drills
- No consensus now at ECB on need for May policy action - MNI
- Oil stocks lead gains, as Libyan exports affected
FTSE Mibtel 30: 1.03%
Ibex 35: 0.75%
Stoxx 600: 0.73%
European stocks managed to end the day in the blue after a late afternoon swoon in reaction to an Interfax report that Russia was to start military drills on its western border.
That came after Ukrainian security forces had managed to dislodge pro-Russian militants from the mayor's office in Mariupol, a town very near to the border with Russia.
As well, overnight Ukrainian troops reportedly fought back an attack by 70 armed persons against an army base in Artemivsk, to the north of Donetsk.
In response to the above, Ukraine "paused to reformulate the plan", a senior security official in Kiev as having said, according to reports from Kyiv Post editor Katya Gorchinskaya, amid a "heightened risk" of Russia sending troops into Ukraine.
Before the news about the above drills broke, equities had been notching up sharp gains after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi sounded a rather dovish note in a speech delivered in the Netherlands.
More specifically, he ran over all of the options which are available to the central bank should it need to compensate for an unwanted tightening in its monetary stance.
Also helping investor sentiment along was a better-than-expected reading on German business confidence earlier in the day, courtesy of the IFO institute, alongside solid quarterly earnings figures out from US technology giant Apple.
The IFO business climate gauge rose to 111.2 in April from 110.4 in the month before (consensus: 110.4), led by a jump in the expectations sub-index to 107.3 from 106.4 in March.
Also lending a helping hand were the reports that American outfit GE may be looking to purchase French rival Alstom for about $13bn.
That may be interpreted by investors as confirmation that 'animal spirits' in the corporate world - even if only on the other side of the pond - have indeed improved.
Shares of Alstom rocket
From a sector standpoint, the best performance was being logged by companies in the following industrial groups: Oil&Gas (1.22%), Financial services (0.67%) and Telecommunications (0.54%).
Shares of French engineering group Alstom were 15% higher following the reported interest from US firm GE. Bouygues, one of its major shareholders, is said to back the bid.
Coincidentally, the US Committee on Foreign Investment in the US has cleared Dassault Systems acquisition of US scientific software firm Accelrys. The French outfit also confirmed its 2014 forecasts.
Spanish lender Caixabank reported a 54.6% drop in first quarter net profits to €152m.
Crude futures higher
The euro/dollar was up by 0.11% at 1.3831.
Front-month Brent crude futures were moving up by 0.845% to the $110.03/barrel mark on the ICE.