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LONDON: European shares rose on Friday, closing higher for the first time in five weeks, as a bout of bargain hunting took over after worries about aggressive monetary policy tightening and slowing global growth.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 2.1%, with travel and leisure, banks and personal and household stocks leading gains.

“Equity markets are showing strong gains as bargain hunters have snapped up stocks,” said David Madden, market analyst at Equiti Capital.

“This week, markets were plagued by fears of high inflation, worries about more interest rate hikes, and concerns about the ongoing war in Ukraine.” Global markets, particularly US stocks, have gyrated wildly this week as investors feared that tightening financial conditions, with the Federal Reserve preparing for a series of interest rate hikes to contain a surge in inflation, will tip the economy into recession.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell repeated on Thursday his expectation that the central bank will raise interest rates by half a percentage point at each of its next two policy meetings, easing worries about a bigger 75 basis point rate hike that some investors were expecting.

Including Friday’s gains, the STOXX 600 snapped its four-week losing streak.

“The risks are to the downside with huge jump in economic uncertainty and large real disposable income shocks for households,” Deutsche Bank economists said in a note.

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