European stocks rise to near one-year high on commodity gains
(Reuters) – European shares ended at a near one-year high on Monday as major resource stocks benefited from expectations of a swift economic recovery, while Vivendi led gains on its planned capital distribution from Universal Music.
The pan-European STOXX 600 rose 1.3% to its highest since late February 2020, with Rio Tinto, BHP Group and Anglo American bolstering the index as copper prices leapt to a more than eight-year high.
Banks and energy stocks also climbed as a so-called “recovery trade” sparked demand for sectors that had underperformed the broader index following early 2020’s coronavirus-driven crash.
Metal and oil prices rose as investors bet on fresh U.S. stimulus and major vaccine programs spurring a resurgence in commodity demand.
Vivendi SE topped the STOXX 600 with a 19.6% jump after the French conglomerate said it intended to distribute 60% of Universal Music’s capital to investors.
Shares of Groupe Bollore, which has a 27% stake in Vivendi, jumped 14.6%.
Anticipation of more U.S. stimulus measures was bolstered after President Joe Biden on Friday turned to a bipartisan group of local officials for help on his $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan.
Historic monetary and fiscal stimulus has helped the benchmark STOXX 600 rebound about 55% since slumping to a more than seven-year low in March 2020, although it has lagged the U.S. S&P 500 due to prolonged lockdowns in Europe.
A recent Reuters poll found the euro zone economy was in a double-dip recession and that economists now expect GDP to contract 0.8% in the first quarter, reversing an earlier forecast for growth of 0.6%.
Adding to doubts over a euro zone recovery, data showed industrial production shrank more that expected in December under the weight of falling output of capital and non-durable consumer goods, confirming an economic contraction in the fourth quarter.
However, analysts said a global economic recovery was set to benefit euro zone sectors that were exposed to trade.
“New orders for manufacturing continue to grow quickly and the rest of the world continues to recover, which bodes well for the start of 1Q in terms of exports and production,” ING analysts wrote in a note.
“This makes manufacturing the bright spot in an otherwise downbeat short-term outlook.”
Trading volumes were thin for the day, with markets in China, Hong Kong and the United States shut for local holidays.
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