(Reuters) – European shares hit a five-week high on Monday as optimism about a stable economic recovery in China and hopes of more U.S. fiscal stimulus helped offset concerns around surging COVID-19 cases across the continent.
The pan-European STOXX 600 <.STOXX> marked a third straight day of gains to end 0.7% higher, led by utilities <.SX6P>, technology <.SX8P> and autos <.SXAP> stocks.
The Trump administration on Sunday called on the U.S. Congress to pass a stripped-down coronavirus relief bill after talks stalled on a more comprehensive stimulus deal.
“Investors have not lost faith that further stimulus measures will follow and that an effective COVID-19 vaccine will soon be placed on the market,” said Milan Cutkovic, market analyst at Axi.
But a jump in domestic coronavirus cases has raised the spectre of fresh lockdowns and cast a shadow over a nascent economic rebound.
With Italy preparing for nationwide curbs, the European Central Bank’s chief economist, Philip Lane, said the euro zone economy was entering a tougher phase. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson also imposed a tiered system of further restrictions on parts of England, including closing some pubs.
British pub and restaurant owners Marston’s Plc
and Restaurant Group Plc
fell 5.3% and 9.3%, respectively, while the blue-chip FTSE 100 <.FTSE> lost 0.3%. [.L]
“Investors are walking on thin ice,” Cutkovic said. “Further lockdowns would jeopardise the already fragile economic recovery and have lasting effects on consumer confidence.”
Data on inflation, industrial production and business conditions is due later in the week. All eyes will also be on a European Union summit on Oct. 15 and 16, particularly with a UK-imposed deadline for a post-Brexit trade deal.
“It seems progress has been made and if this continues, I would expect talks to continue beyond that self-imposed UK deadline,” said Deutsche Bank strategist Jim Reid.
The Italian bourse <.FTMIB> ended 0.6% higher, shrugging off a slide in bank stocks as Italian government bond yields fell near record lows on expectations of a new round of stimulus from the European Central Bank.
As the third-quarter corporate earnings season gets under way, analysts expect earnings at STOXX 600 firms to have declined 38% year-on-year in the quarter following a 50.8% slump in the prior quarter, according to Refinitiv data.
The European telecoms index <.SXKP> surged to a three-week high, powered by a 6.8% jump for Dutch telecommunications company KPN
following a report that Sweden-based private equity firm EQT was considering a takeover.
(Reporting by Sagarika Jaisinghani in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Anil D’Silva)
Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.