European shares round off an inch shy of record closing highs after upbeat PMI data



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European shares round off an inch shy of record closing highs after upbeat PMI data

A basket of European bourses took off the new quarter with strong gains in a thin-volume trading session on Thursday ahead of a Good Friday holiday, as an upscaled optimism over US President Joe Biden’s $2 trillion-plus investment proposal alongside a robust euro zone factory activity PMI (Purchasing Managers’ Index) data seemingly had allayed concerns associated with a re-imposition of lockdown measure in France.

In point of fact, in the day’s flamboyant rallies in a raft of European bourses came against the backdrop of a growing rancour about the pace of pandemic inoculation campaign in Europe, while a likely third wave of pandemic outbreak hitting major euro zone economies had been teasing investors’ morale, nonetheless, European investors appeared to have brushed aside pandemic-associated concerns following release of a stronger-than-anticipated euro zone composite manufacturing PMI data.

If truth is to be told, Thursday’s gains in major European stock indices were believed to be stemming off growing investors’ optimisms on a solid economic recovery, while a euro zone flash composite manufacturing PMI (Purchasing Managers’ Index) data released earlier in the day that had shown the 26-member bloc’s factory activity had been accelerated at its fastest pace in more than 24 years last month, eclipsed the bearings of a protracted cascade of pandemic-related confusions.

European shares end higher after upbeat factory activity data

Citing statistics, in the day’s European market closure, the regional pan-European STOXX 600 gained 0.5 per cent, anchoring just 2 points shy of its all-time closing highs, while the benchmark had clocked a 7.7 per cent rise in the quarter, marking up its fourth straight quarterly gain in a row.

In tandem, Frankfurt’s DAX rose 0.66 per cent to hit an all-time closing high of 15,107.17 and London’s FTSE 100 ended 0.35 per cent higher to 6,737.30, while French CAC 40 gained 0.59 per cent to wrap up the session at 6,102.96.

Elsewhere in the Europe, Italy’s FTSE MIB winded down the day 0.25 per cent higher to 24,710.00, while Madrid’s benchmark IBEX 35 edged 0.02 per cent lower to 8,577.60. On the week, Madrid’s IBEX 35 and Italy’s FTSE MIB gained 1.2 per cent and 1.46 per cent respectively, while London’s blue-chip FTSE 100 added 0.99 per cent, French CAC 40 surged 2.11 per cent and Frankfurt’s DAX jumped as much as 2.67 per cent.

Meanwhile, referring to market participants’ optimism of a broad-based recovery in a near term, analysts at Equita wrote in a client note, “We remain optimistic on the recovery and believe current vaccine delays in the EU are unlikely to jeopardise the rebound in growth: the supply of vaccines is set to improve significantly in 2Q/3Q.