By Sruthi Shankar and Shreyashi Sanyal
– European stocks scaled new highs on Friday and clocked their fourth consecutive week of gains on optimism over a strong earnings season and steady recovery from the pandemic-led economic downturn.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index inched up 0.2% to a record high of 476.16, for the tenth straight session. The index has now matched its best winning streak since December 2006.
While the pace of gains has slowed due to thin summer trading, the index has logged nine-day gaining streaks seven times in the past fifteen years.
Germany’s DAX index ticked above 16,000 points for the first time ever, while France’s CAC 40 index index touched its highest level in nearly 21 years.
Both European and U.S. stocks hit record levels this week, supported by rising earnings expectations and improving economic data, even as Asian equities were held back by worries about Chinese regulation and the fast-spreading Delta variant of the coronavirus.
“If investors are concerned about rising Delta variant cases globally there’s little evidence that it is prompting any undue worry, although markets in Asia have been a little more cautious,” said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK.
Meanwhile, speculation that the U.S. Federal Reserve could soon start to unwind its bond-buying stimulus calmed a bit following tame U.S. consumer prices data this week.
Focus will be on the minutes from the U.S. central bank’s last policy meeting next week for clues on the outlook for monetary policy.
“With equity markets almost doubling since the start of the pandemic and a bull market lasting over a decade, investors are questioning how far the bull market can rally,” said Geir Lode, head of global equities at the international business of Federated Hermes.
“With higher inflation and regulatory risk we believe value stocks will outperform growth stocks,” said Lode, adding that he expects stronger earnings growth among mid-cap and smaller companies versus the mega-cap growth companies.
Italian shares were also trading near their highest since September 2008.
Adidas rose 2.3% after it said it was selling Reebok to Authentic Brands Group for up to 2.1 billion euros ($2.5 billion).
Pet supplies retailer Zooplus shot up 41.1% after it accepted a takeover offer worth around 3 billion euros ($3.5 billion) from U.S. private equity firm Hellman & Friedman.
French healthcare company Ipsen tumbled 12.7% after it withdrew a U.S. application for palovarotene, its treatment for an extremely rare disease that causes muscles and tissue to turn to bone.
Graphic: European and U.S. stocks at all-time highs, https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/mkt/egpbknzdxvq/Pasted%20image%201628842387698.png