European stocks extend record rally on lift from insurers, M&A activity

by jcp
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By Sruthi Shankar and Shreyashi Sanyal

(Reuters) -European shares rose on Thursday, hitting yet another record high, as strong earnings from insurers and M&A activity in the UK helped offset a fall in mining stocks.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index inched up 0.1%, extending gains to a ninth consecutive session.

British insurer Aviva rose 3.5% after saying it would return at least 4 billion pounds ($5.5 billion) to shareholders, while Zurich Insurance Group added 3.8% on reporting a 60% jump in first-half business operating profit.

Dutch insurer Aegon NV jumped 7.3% after posting much better than expected second-quarter earnings.

Deutsche Telekom rose 2.8% after raising its profit outlook for the second time this year.

The benchmark STOXX 600 clocked its longest winning streak since June, as earnings reports and optimism related to the pace of vaccination across Europe reinforced investor confidence in an economic recovery.

Data showed Britain’s economy grew by a faster than expected 1% in June, after many hospitality firms restarted indoor service in mid-May and as more people visited doctors following the pandemic, lifting healthcare.

Factory output fell in June in the euro zone, as Germany, the bloc’s industrial powerhouse, faltered amid supply bottlenecks, European Union estimates showed.

“The second successive monthly fall in euro-zone industrial production in June was largely due to ongoing supply-chain difficulties in Germany,” said Andrew Kenningham, chief Europe economist at Capital Economics.

“As these will ease only slowly, we don’t expect industry to contribute much to economic growth in the coming months, even though demand is still red hot,” Kenningham added.

Cineworld Group rose 3.9% after it said it was considering a listing of itself or a partial listing of its movie chain Regal on Wall Street.

Meanwhile, Adidas rose 1.6% after selling its Reebok brand to Authentic Brands Groups for up to 2.1 billion euros ($2.5 billion), as the German sporting goods company sought to draw a line under an ill-fated investment.

Stock Spirits Group soared 43.7% funds as funds affiliated with private-equity firm CVC agreed to take over the London-listed vodka maker in a deal valuing it at 767 million pounds ($1.1 billion).

Dragging down miners, UK-listed shares of global miner Rio Tinto slipped 5.5% on trading ex-dividend.

(Reporting by Sruthi Shankar and Shreyashi Sanyal in BengaluruEditing by Shounak Dasgupta and David Holmes)

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