European stocks climbed to record highs on Wednesday as optimism over the economic recovery and earnings growth outweighed concerns over the spread of the Delta variant in China.
In economic releases, the euro area private sector grew the most in more than 15 years in July, underpinned by steep manufacturing output growth and an accelerated expansion of services activity, final data from IHS Markit showed earlier today.
The composite output index rose to 60.2 in July from 59.5 in the previous month. But the reading was below the flash score of 60.6.
Elsewhere, the recovery of the U.K.’s services sector slowed in July alongside record inflationary pressures.
Separate data from Eurostat revealed that Eurozone retail sales grew at a slower pace in June largely due to the fall in food sales.
Retail sales grew 1.5 percent on a monthly basis, slower than the 4.1 percent increase in May and economists’ forecast of 1.7 percent.
On a yearly basis, retail sales growth moderated to 5 percent from 8.6 percent in the previous month. Sales were forecast to climb 4.5 percent.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 index climbed 0.6 percent to 467.92 after rising 0.2 percent on Tuesday. The German DAX gained 0.7 percent, France’s CAC 40 index rose half a percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 was up 0.4 percent.
Hugo Boss gained 1.3 percent. The German fashion house returned to growth in the second quarter and said it expected a rebound in its business to continue in the second half of the year.
Commerzbank lost 4.3 percent after the lender swung to a second-quarter loss, hit by one-off costs such as those related to its restructuring, involving hundreds of branch closures and 10,000 job cuts.
Schaeffler dropped 1.3 percent despite the automotive and industrial supplier posting strong half yearly results and raising its 2021 guidance.
Thales shares rose 1.6 percent. The French aerospace company announced that it was in advanced talks to sell its railway signaling business to Japan’s Hitachi for around $2 billion.
Taylor Wimpey rallied 3.2 percent. The U.K. homebuilder raised its full-year earnings outlook after building a record number of homes in the past six months.
Rolls-Royce Holding added 1.6 percent. The engine maker has agreed to sell its Bergen Engines medium speed liquid fuel and gas engines business to global engineering group Langley Holdings plc for an enterprise value of €63m.
Ferrexpo lost 3.8 percent. The world’s third-largest exporter of iron ore pellets sees demand for iron ore declining in the second half of the year from the record levels being seen at present.
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