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Stocks jump on unverified coronavirus cure reports

Hopes of a coronavirus cure may have helped European stocks jump on Wednesday (February 5).

After a flat start, benchmark indexes suddenly rose around 1%.

Several traders told Reuters that was down to reports out of China.

A TV station there claims that one university has found a drug to treat the virus.

Reuters hasn't yet been able to verify that story, which is just the latest of several claims of medical breakthroughs.

Meanwhile, euro zone shoppers may... or may not... be helping to lift the mood.

Retail sales in December came in significantly weaker than expected.

But January's Services PMI survey beat forecasts.

Germany in particular is looking healthier.

Activity in its service sector grew at the fastest pace in five months.

Overall the euro zone figure climbed to 52.5 - edging away from the 50 point line that divides expansion and contraction.

The day's earnings reports were mostly positive.

German chipmaker Infineon soared as much as 8% after it met targets for the first quarter.

That helped tech stocks rise for a third straight session.

Imperial Brands was one big exception to the upbeat mood though.

Shares in the tobacco group fell as much as nine percent after it warned on profits.

The maker of Winston and other brands says it's suffering from tighter regulation of vaping in the U.S.