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European Shares Inch Higher As Virus Worries Ease

stockmarkets dec31 03dec21 lt

European stocks were seeing modest gains on Friday after fluctuating all through the week on worries over inflation and the potential impact of the newly detected coronavirus variant.

In economic releases, IHS Markit's Flash Composite Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) rose to 55.4 in November from 54.2 in October. But that was below an earlier 55.8 "flash" estimate.

The IHS Markit/CIPS UK Services Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) fell to 58.5 in November from 59.1 in October.

France's industrial production rebounded in October, largely led by a strong recovery in the manufacture of transport equipment, preliminary data from the statistical office INSEE showed.

Industrial production grew 0.9 percent from September, when it decreased 1.5 percent. Economists had forecast 0.5 percent gain.

Investors looked ahead to the release of the U.S. monthly jobs data for additional clues to stimulus tapering and interest rate rises.

The pan-European Stoxx Europe 600 index rose 0.2 percent to 466.48 after declining 1.2 percent on Thursday. The German DAX, France's CAC 40 index and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 were up between 0.2 percent and 0.4 percent.

British fund supermarket Hargreaves Lansdown gained about 1 percent after an announcement that it will appoint Amy Stirling as chief financial officer (CFO) to succeed Philip Johnson.

Travel stocks were rising despite fresh curbs in Germany, Netherlands and elsewhere to prevent the spread of the new variant. easyJet rose 1.3 percent, IAG advanced 1.6 percent, Lufthansa jumped 3.8 percent and Air France KLM added 1.3 percent.

BP Plc rallied 2.2 percent and Royal Dutch Shell added 1.3 percent, tracking higher oil prices after OPEC+ said it would review supply additions ahead of its next meeting if Omicron dents demand.

German insurer Allianz rose over 2 percent after raising its mid-term targets and announcing a new dividend policy.

Nordex gained 2.3 percent after securing a deal to supply 67 turbines for the 300MW El Sauz onshore wind farm in the U.S. state of Texas.

Copper producer Aurubis soared 8 percent after reporting a 60 percent jump in full-year operating earnings.

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