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European shares retreat from record highs as Wall St dips, currencies surge

The German share price index DAX graph is pictured at the stock exchange in Frankfurt

(Reuters) -European stocks retreated slightly from record highs on Monday, as a weaker open on Wall Street and rallying currencies offset optimism about a solid start to the earnings season.

After marking its seventh straight week of gains on Friday, the pan-European STOXX 600 index closed little changed but fell about 0.3% from all-time highs hit earlier on Monday.

The auto and parts sector led losses, down 1.6% after a 2% surge in the previous session, followed by the technology sector.

The STOXX 600 fell in afternoon trade as the euro and the pound capitalized on the dollar’s weakness, said Connor Campbell, an analyst at Spreadex. Stronger domestic currencies tend to hit internationally focussed stocks in the continent. [FRX/] [GBP/]

A weak opening on Wall Street, where the Dow Jones index fell from new highs, also spurred some profit taking in Europe, he said. [.N]

“The markets are at strong highs at the moment, and given that it is also a quiet day data-wise, it is not a surprise to see the markets drifting lower.”

The German DAX slid from fresh highs to post its worst day in a month. A worrying resurgence in COVID-19 cases globally also weighed on sentiment.

Among results, Faurecia forecast robust current-quarter sales growth on Monday, after surging sales in China helped the French car parts maker beat market expectations in the first three months of the year.

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

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

Italy’s Juventus surged 18% after top European football clubs including Juventus FC and Manchester United announced a breakaway competition to rival the UEFA Champions League.

Danske Bank slipped 2.4% as Chief Executive Officer Chris Vogelzang resigned after Dutch authorities named him as a suspect in a probe into violations of money-laundering regulations at lender ABN Amro.

ABN Amro rose 2.3% after it said it had reached a 480 million-euro ($574 million) settlement with prosecutors over money laundering allegations.

Italian vehicle and equipment maker CNH Industrial fell 3.7% after it ended talks over the sale of truckmaker Iveco to Chinese firm FAW.

Meanwhile, rising European bond yields saw euro zone bank stocks surge, lifting the lender-heavy Spanish index to close at one-month highs. [GVD/EUR]

(Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Steve Orlofsky)

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