(C) Reuters. The German share price index DAX graph is pictured at the stock exchange in Frankfurt
By Sruthi Shankar
(Reuters) -European stocks inched higher on Monday, extending their record-setting rally, as optimism about a solid start to the earnings season offset a worrying resurgence in COVID-19 cases globally.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.1% after marking its seventh straight week of gains on Friday, while an index of euro zone shares rose 0.1% to touch its highest since September 2000.
Travel & leisure stocks rose 1.1% to an all-time high on optimism that ramping up of COVID-19 vaccination programmes will drive a quicker re-opening of European economies.
Automakers slipped 0.6% after early gains as French car parts maker Faurecia reported a first-quarter sales that beat market expectations, helped by particularly strong growth in China.
“Europe is really benefiting from a strong global demand,” said Frederique Carrier, head of investment strategy at RBC Wealth Management. “We’ve seen that in some of the consumer discretionary and luxury products. That will continue into the second quarter, and help things going forward.”
First-quarter earnings for companies listed on the STOXX 600 are expected to jump more than 55% after a near 40% slide in the year-earlier quarter, according to Refinitiv IBES data.
While just 2% of those companies have reported so far, 80% topped profit expectations.
Italy’s Juventus jumped 6.6% after top European football clubs including Juventus FC and Manchester United announced a breakaway competition to rival UEFA Champions League.
Danske Bank slipped 1% as Chief Executive Officer Chris Vogelzang resigned after Dutch authorities named him as a suspect in a probe into violations of money-laundering regulations at lender ABN Amro.
ABN Amro rose 1.7% after it said it had reached a 480-million-euro ($574 million) settlement with prosecutors over money laundering allegations.
Oil & gas stocks fell as soaring infection rates, particularly in the developing countries such as India and Brazil hurt oil prices on concerns about a slower global recovery.
Italian vehicle and equipment maker CNH Industrial (NYSE:CNHI) fell 3.7% after it ended talks over the sale of truckmaker Iveco to Chinese firm FAW.
European shares inch to record highs on earnings, recovery optimism
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