By Sruthi Shankar and Ambar Warrick
(Reuters) -European stocks ended higher on Monday as strong metals prices boosted miners, while a rise in bond yields supported shares of major banks amid optimism the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic had passed.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index ended 0.3% higher after its first weekly loss in eight last week. Basic resources stocks were among the best performers for the day, rising 1.9% to a 10-year closing high.
The sector was supported by Shanghai copper prices hitting 10-year highs, with prices of other metals also rising as vaccination programmes across major industrial hubs pointed to a recovery in demand. [MET/L]
Bank stocks were the top performers, rising 2% as major lenders were supported by rising euro zone bond yields. [GVD/EUR]
Travel and leisure stocks rose 1.8% to a record closing high after a top European Union official said Americans who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 should be able to travel to Europe by summer.
“With Italy lifting many restrictions on Monday, France planning to ease measures next month, the jab rate trending up, and the PMIs pointing to persistently robust activity, we remain confident about a consumption-driven rebound starting in Q2,” analysts at Morgan Stanley said.
However, German stocks lagged their peers, rising only 0.1%, after the Ifo Institute’s survey showed German business morale improved by less than expected in April amid a third wave of COVID-19 infections.
While earnings from mega-cap U.S. technology companies such as Apple could set the tone on Wall Street this week, Europe will see a barrage of earnings reports from UK banks, oil majors and healthcare companies.
Of the 15% of STOXX 600 companies that have reported so far, 66% topped earnings estimates, according to Refinitiv IBES data. In a typical quarter, 51% beat earnings estimates.
British engineering firm IMI Plc topped the STOXX 600, rising more than 11% after it hiked its 2021 profit guidance.
Austrian sensor maker AMS fell 0.7% after Credit Suisse double downgraded its stock to “underperform”, citing concerns around the company potentially losing product supply deals at Apple.
Volkswagen AG slipped 2.1% after the Financial Times reported the company had warned managers to prepare for a bigger production hit in the second quarter due to a global chip shortage.
(Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Mark Potter)