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European shares inch to record highs on recovery optimism

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European stocks inched higher on Monday, extending their recordsetting rally, as optimism about a solid start to the earnings season offset a worrying resurgence in COVID19 cases globally.

The panEuropean 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 alltime high on optimism that ramping up of COVID19 vaccination programmes will drive a quicker reopening of European economies.

Automakers slipped 0.6 after early gains as French car parts maker Faurecia reported a firstquarter sales that beat market expectations, helped by particularly strong growth in China.

Europe is really benefiting from a strong global demand, said Frédérique Carrier, head of investment strategy at RBC Wealth Management. Weve seen that in some of the consumer discretionary and luxury products. That will continue into the second quarter, and help things going forward.

Firstquarter earnings for companies listed on the STOXX 600 are expected to jump more than 55 after a near 40 slide in the yearearlier quarter, according to Refinitiv IBES data.

While just 2 of those companies have reported so far, 80 topped profit expectations.

Italys 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…

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