By Amy Caren Daniel and Medha Singh
A surge in telecom stocks on Germany's completion of its 5G mobile spectrum auction pulled European shares higher on Thursday, overturning a weak opening as investors continued to worry about global trade tensions.
Shares in 1&1 Drillisch and parent United Internet surged 9% and 5% respectively while market leader Deutsche Telekom (DE:DTEGn) gained 1% even as chief Dirk Woessner said the process had led to high prices and left a "bitter aftertaste".
The moves drove the European telecom index 0.6% higher and, allied to gains for oil companies after a surge in crude prices, pulled the pan-European STOXX 600 index 0.16% higher by 0815 GMT.
Germany's DAX also outperformed with a 0.4% rise.
"Focus will now switch to whether Drillisch will proceed with a mobile network build, but it could be several months before the outcome is known," UBS analysts said in a note on the tender.
"We re-iterate our view that both Deutsche and Vodafone (LON:VOD) are well placed regardless of whether a mobile network build does or does not go ahead."
Europe's benchmark index has risen about 3% this month, undoing roughly half of a sell-off in May that was its worst monthly performance in more than two years.
The recovery has come largely on hopes that the U.S. Federal Reserve and European Central Bank will take action to impede any slowdown in global growth in the wake of the trade tensions that have plagued markets and major economies over the past year.
U.S. inflation data on Wednesday raised the number of Federal Reserve rate cuts priced in to the money market to three this year and some analysts worry that is overdone.
Germany's final inflation reading for May came in line with estimates on Thursday and banking stocks, which tend to suffer when expectations for interest rates fall, fell 0.4%.
"The expectations that central banks would intervene and might cut rates and start stimulating again, acts as a sort of buffer," said Teeuwe Mevissen, senior macro strategist at Rabobank.
The biggest decliner on STOXX 600 was Aurubis AG, down 10.8% % after Europe's largest copper producer warned on profits and said its CEO would leave the company immediately.
Thales rose 2.5% after the French defense electronics group raised its profitability target for 2019 as it factored in the contribution of the recently-acquired Gemalto (AS:GTO) business.