European stocks finished the day up for the third straight session having reversed earlier declines after Wall Street turned around.
However analysts see the latest rises as nothing more than a bear-market rally. Among the factors investors reacted to were the Swiss central bank cutting its key interest rate to a record low of a quarter of one percent. It also warned the country’s economy would decline this year by more than it had previously predicted. That pushed the Swiss franc sharply down against the euro and the dollar benefiting Swiss companies to do a lot of business overseas. US retail sales fell by less than expected in February. That is important because consumer spending accounts for at least two-thirds of US economic activity and is crucial for company profits. French retailer Carrefour rose as it plans to cut costs and boost sales with price promotions.