European stocks erased declines to advance in the final minutes of trading as oil rebounded and investors assessed value after some disappointing earnings reports.
A measure of energy companies recovered in afternoon trade as oil rose after data showed stockpiles at the biggest U.S. storage hub dropped. Royal Dutch Shell Plc added 2.9 percent after winning shareholder approval to buy BG Group Plc, which gained 3.5 percent. BASF SE lost 1.8 percent after the world’s largest chemical maker said it will book a 600-million euro ($652 million) charge in the fourth quarter because of lower oil and gas prices.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index advanced 0.3 percent to 340.24 at the close of trading, erasing losses of as much as 1 percent. The index is heading for a monthly decline of 7 percent, its biggest since August. Shares are trading at about 14.6 times projected earnings, the lowest in more than a year. A measure of volatility in the market has risen 25 percent in January and reached its highest level since September last week.
The Federal Reserve releases a monetary-policy statement after the close of European trading. Investors will be looking for indications of the U.S. central bank’s intentions regarding interest rates after January’s market turmoil. Traders are pricing in zero percent chance of a rate hike this month and 25 percent odds of an increase in March.
Among stocks moving on financial updates, Novartis AG dropped 3.7 percent after the Swiss drugmaker posted earnings and sales that missed projections. Ericsson AB slid 6.3 percent as its fourth quarter was less profitable than analysts predicted.