European stocks climbed on Thursday with investors awaiting an inflation print and minutes from the European Central Bank's latest meeting, while shares of Basilea jumped following the U.S. regulatory approval for the drugmaker's bacterial therapy.

The continent-wide STOXX 600 index was up 0.2%, as of 0837 GMT, led by a 1.6% gain in the basic resources sector as copper prices hit levels seen last in January 2023.

Top on traders radar is the currency union's February producer prices data, due at 0900 GMT, with economists polled by Reuters expecting a 8.6% decline, unchanged from January.

The data would follow a cooler-than-expected March consumer inflation print, which is still away from the ECB's 2% target.

"Although PPI takes time to engage and we're seeing signs of that cooling quite quickly, CPI takes into account other areas of inflation, such as services and wage growth which is what's preventing that final fall down to the 2% level," Fiona Cincotta, senior market analyst at City Index said.

Later in the day, investors will also parse minutes from ECB's March meeting to ascertain the timing of the much-awaited first interest rate cut.

The benchmark index had a lacklustre start to the second quarter with investors looking for more signs of confirmation on the timing and scale of interest rate cuts.

The STOXX 600 had notched strong gains over the past five months on optimism that major central banks would start reducing interest rates in early 2024.

On the day, the automobiles sector added 1.1%, steered by Volvo Cars' 3.9% advance after the Sweden-based firm posted a 25% jump in March sales from a year earlier to 78,970 cars - an all-time high for global sales in a single month.

Basilea Pharmaceutica surged 7.9% to an over six-month high after the Swiss firm received U.S. health regulator's approval for its antibiotic Zevtera that treats bacterial infections including multidrug-resistant strains.

Shares of Compugroup gained 6.4% after Morgan Stanley upgraded the German medical software company's stock rating to "overweight" from "equal-weight".

Sanofi rose 0.8% after the French drug maker said it reached an agreement in principle to settle 4,000 U.S. lawsuits linking the discontinued heartburn drug Zantac to cancer.

Cab Payments gained 11.6% after the British fintech company got a payment service provider licence in the Netherlands.

Meanwhile, Euro zone business activity expanded in March for the first time since May 2023. However, the recovery was uneven, a survey showed.



(Reporting by Johann M Cherian and Ozan Ergenay; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Mrigank Dhaniwala)