European stocks on Friday closed at a record high, marking strong weekly gains, as positive economic data and upbeat earnings underpinned hopes of a swift economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.89 percent to a record high of 444.93 points. It added 1.72 percent this week — its best performance since mid-March.
Global stocks rallied to record highs as investors scaled back expectations of policy tapering by the US Federal Reserve, after data showed the US labor market had a long road to recovery from the pandemic.
European technology stocks were the best performers for the day, rising 2.2 percent as they recovered from a rout seen earlier in the week. The sector ended the week largely unchanged.
Basic resource stocks were the best weekly performers, adding 7.2 percent for the week and ending at more than a decade-high as optimism over recovering global demand pushed up base metal and iron ore prices.
The German DAX rose 1.34 percent to 15,399.65, up 1.74 percent for the week and inching closer to its lifetime high.
France’s CAC 40 ended up 0.45 percent at 6,385.51 — its highest level since November 2000. It gained 1.85 percent from a week earlier.
The UK’s FTSE 100 increased 0.76 percent to 7,129.71, breaching the 7,100 mark for the first time since February last year. On a weekly basis, it jumped 2.29 percent.
Data showed that German companies increased their exports for the 11th month in a row in March, with growth coming in at 1.2 percent, twice the rate economists had forecast.
A swathe of positive earnings and data has helped European stocks rally to record highs this year, amid growing optimism over COVID-19 vaccine programs spurring a return to normalcy.
“It’s going to be an exceptionally strong couple of quarters going forward, and that makes it very unlikely that the market will suffer in a big way over the next six months,” said Andrea Cicione, head of strategy at TS Lombard.
The moment growth starts to slow down, probably at the same time the Fed starts taking some liquidity away, markets would be more vulnerable, Cicione said.
On the earnings front, German sportswear company Adidas AG surged 8.4 percent after it raised its sales outlook for this year.
Jewelry maker Pandora A/S gained 3 percent after reporting 214 percent sales growth last month.
The UK’s Meggitt PLC jumped 8.3 percent after a media report of a takeover, while French mall owner Klepierre SA edged lower on trimming its cash flow forecast for this year.
Spanish energy and infrastructure group Acciona SA rose 2.3 percent after it said that it expects to list a stake in its energy business in the first half of this year.
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