European shares strengthen on recovery hopes, Germany leads gains – Metro US

European shares strengthen on recovery hopes, Germany leads gains

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

(Reuters) – European shares rose on Thursday, extending a rally for the fourth straight day, as investors were hopeful of a swifter global economic recovery, with German shares leading the advance among European Union members.

The STOXX 600 index was 0.2% higher, while Frankfurt shares rose 0.4%.

Germany’s ruling coalition parties on Wednesday agreed a batch of additional measures to support those hit hard financially by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Last night’s measures are another band aid for the most hit sectors and people,” said Carsten Brzeski, global head of macro at ING.

Milan’s FTSE MIB index edged 0.1% lower in early trading, cooling from an over 2% gain in the previous session.

Former European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi on Wednesday took on the task of forming a new government to end Italy’s political crisis, tackle the coronavirus emergency and overcome deep economic recession.

Global markets remained hopeful after Democrats pushed ahead on Wednesday with a manoeuvre to pass U.S. President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package without Republican support.

With the reporting season in full swing, market participants also looked at earnings from European companies.

Deutsche Bank AG’s shares rose 1.2% after the German lender swung to a small annual profit in 2020, its first since 2014, on the back of strong gains at its investment banking division.

Securitas AB fell 2.1% after the world’s biggest security services group posted a bigger drop than expected in fourth-quarter profit.

Unilever fell 3.4% after the consumer goods giant reported underlying sales growth for the fourth quarter that was in line with estimates.

Shell rose 0.7% after the company boosted its dividend again, even as 2020 profit dropped to its lowest in at least two decades.

Bayer AG jumped 4.7% after the German company struck a $2 billion deal to resolve future legal claims that its widely used weedkiller Roundup causes cancer.

The European blue-chip index was flat, while the euro zone blue-chip index rose 0.2%.

(Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)

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