European shares inch to file highs on earnings, restoration optimism By Reuters

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© Reuters. The DAX chart of the German share index is shown on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange

From Sruthi Shankar

(Reuters) – European stocks rose Monday, extending their record rally as optimism about a solid start to earnings season offset a worrying resurgence in COVID-19 cases worldwide.

The pan-European index rose 0.1% on Friday after its seventh straight week, while an index of euro-zone stocks rose 0.1% to hit its highest level since September 2000.

Travel and leisure stocks rose 1.1% to an all-time high on optimism that the expansion of COVID-19 vaccination programs will lead to a faster reopening of European economies.

Automakers were down 0.6% after early gains as French auto parts maker Faurecia reported first-quarter sales that exceeded market expectations, aided by particularly strong growth in China.

“Europe is really benefiting from strong global demand,” said Frédérique Carrier, Head of Investment Strategy at RBC Wealth Management. “We have seen that with some consumer discretionary and luxury products. It will stay that way in the second quarter and will improve the future.”

According to Refinitiv IBES, profits of the companies listed on the STOXX 600 are expected to increase by more than 55% in the first quarter after a decline of almost 40% in the same quarter of the previous year.

While only 2% of these companies have reported so far, 80% have exceeded profit expectations.

Italian Juventus rose 6.6% after top European football clubs such as Juventus FC and Manchester United announced a breakaway competition against rivals UEFA Champions League.

Danske Bank was down 1% when CEO Chris Vogelzang resigned after Dutch authorities identified him as a suspect in an investigation into money laundering violations at lender ABN Amro.

ABN Amro jumped 1.7% after reaching a € 480 million ($ 574 million) settlement with prosecutors on money laundering allegations.

Oil and gas inventories fell on rising infection rates, particularly in developing countries like India and Brazil, which weighed on oil prices amid concerns about a slower global recovery.

Italian vehicle and equipment maker CNH Industrial (NYSE 🙂 fell 3.7% after talks about the sale of truck maker Iveco to Chinese company FAW ended.

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