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European Shares near Record High on Earnings Boost

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April 29 Reuters European stocks edged back towards recordhighs on Thursday after a slew of upbeat earnings reports and the U.S. Federal Reserves pledge to stick to loose monetary policy.

The panEuropean STOXX 600 index rose 0.5 to 442 points, marginally below its record peak of 443.61.

Consumer goods giant Unilever rose 2.7 as a pick up in home cooking and a strong economic recovery in China drove betterthanexpected quarterly sales. The company also announced a share buyback programme of up to 3 billion euros 3.6 billion.

Finnish telecom network equipment maker Nokia surged 12.5 as growth in sales of network and 5G equipment boosted its quarterly earnings.

European earnings are seen jumping 71.3 in the first quarter, as per Refinitiv IBES data. Almost a third of the STOXX 600 companies have reported so far, and a higherthanusual 68 have topped profit estimates.

The majority of the reported firms sound constructive on the outlook for the remainder of the year, European equity strategists at Barclays wrote in a note, adding that the high expectations, however, have been priced in.

Global stock markets took heart as the U.S. central bank Chair Jerome Powell on Wednesday said it is not time yet to begin discussing any change in monetary policy with so many workers still left jobless by the pandemic.

Details on U.S. President Joe Bidens stimulus plans and bumper earnings from Wall Streets tech giants Apple and Facebook further lifted sentiment.

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