European shares stabilized on Thursday, after a brutal sell-off was fueled by global recessionary fears, but investors were hoping central banks would step in to ease monetary policy and soothe jittery markets.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index was flat at 0828 GMT, after dropping to near six-month lows hit in the previous session with thin trading volumes as markets in Italy, Austria and Greece were shut for a public holiday.
Weighing on the benchmark index was a drop among interest rate-sensitive banks as eurozone government bond yields went further into negative territory.
The US Treasury bond yield curve inverted on Wednesday for the first time since 2007 and remained inverted for the second straight trading session, the clearest signal yet that the world's largest economy may tip into recession.
Equity investors sought safe-haven assets, following a slew of weak data suggesting a slowdown in global growth and the ongoing US-China trade saga as well as geopolitical tensions in certain emerging economies.
"Its clear that some repricing is happening as we had a good start to the year, but the last few months have been truncated by the trade war issue," said Geoffrey Yu, head of UK chief investment office at UBS Wealth Management.
"It's going to take a lot more than just one day's move or a couple of data points in a single day to really confirm a recession," Yu added.
The US curve inversion increased pressure on the US Federal Reserve to cut interest rates, with traders currently pricing in a quarter-point rate cut at each of the Fed's remaining three policy meetings in 2019.
London's FTSE 100 underperformed its European peers, weighed down by oil majors and several heavyweight stocks that traded without dividend entitlement.
In earnings news, strong numbers from beer maker Carlsberg and shipping group A.P. Moller-Maersk pushed shares of both Danish companies higher.
Drillisch and United Internet slid lower, after the German telecom firms cut their profit outlook.