Oil stocks power Europe’s STOXX 600 to record highs

By Anisha Sircar

(Reuters) – European shares hit another record peak on Monday as Royal Dutch Shell led energy stocks higher after saying it would end its dual-share system, while some upbeat Chinese data also buoyed sentiment.

The continent-wide STOXX 600 index rose 0.1% to an all-time high, although a 1.1% drop in miners capped gains as metal prices tumbled on China’s pledge to “phase down” coal at the COP26 summit. [MET/L]

Data earlier in the day showed retail sales and industrial output growth last month in the world’s second-largest economy beat expectations, fuelling global investor optimism. [MKTS/GLOB]

The STOXX 600 has hit a series of record highs this month as strong corporate earnings and dovish central bank policy decisions lifted investor confidence, helping take the focus off a COVID-19 resurgence in the region.

“The peaks we’re seeing are driven by the expected spending spree ahead of the Christmas festivities, with continuous improvement in business operations likely to boost prospects for European markets,” said Kunal Sawhney, CEO of Kalkine Group.

“Any major obstruction in business activity on the back of COVID-19, repeated shutdowns, store closures and difficulties in operations will potentially retrace the months-long upsurge in indices.”

The Austrian government on Sunday became the first European country to reinstate a fresh lockdown, placing millions of unvaccinated people under restrictions amid record-level infection rates.

France’s blue-chip CAC 40 hit a record high, rising 2.1% on a lift from Airbus. The European planemaker received a multi-billion-dollar order for 255 single-aisle A321neo passenger jets from private-equity firm Indigo Partners’ portfolio airlines.

Royal Dutch Shell added 2% after saying it would simplify its business and move its head office to Britain from the Netherlands. The stock was the top performer among oil stocks, which advanced 0.4%.

Meanwhile, Spanish Bank BBVA was the biggest drag on Spain’s blue-chip IBEX, losing 3.7% on its offer to buy the rest of Garanti BBVA for up to 2.25 billion euros ($2.6 billion).

Shares of Philips, which is recalling ventilators due to use of parts containing a potentially hazardous foam, slid 10.9% after the company announced it was in talks with U.S. regulators following a new inspection of one of its facilities.

(Reporting by Anisha Sircar in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Aditya Soni)

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