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European shares rise on oil gains, stimulus hopes

12/04/2020 | 12:30pm

(Reuters) - Oil stocks lifted European shares on Friday, with London's blue-chip index hitting nine-month highs, while disappointing jobs growth in the United States strengthened hopes for a fiscal stimulus.

London's FTSE 100 rose 0.9% as crude prices gained after a compromise between OPEC+ members to continue to increase output slightly from January but continue the bulk of existing supply curbs. Europe's oil and gas index jumped 3.1% [O/R]

In the United States, data showed the economy added the fewest number of workers in six months in November, but markets quickly recovered as the report raised hopes of Congress pushing through a $908 billion aid package. [.N]

"Vaccines, the restart of talks about stimulus and the new (U.S.) administration, and a less confrontational international background, are still going to be the themes that drive the market," said Marvin Loh, senior global macro strategist at State Street Global Markets in Boston.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.6%, helping it edge into positive territory for the week for - its fifth straight week in the black. Disappointing economic data and Brexit uncertainty had weighed on the index this week.

Progress on a post-Brexit trade deal still remained uncertain. European Union officials said a deal could finally be clinched this weekend, but London insisted that negotiations were still "very difficult".

Germany's DAX climbed 0.4%, but ended 0.3% lower on the week, having underperformed peers for most of the week. The index has risen about 60% from its March lows compared with nearly a 46% rise for the STOXX 600 over the same period.

Data on Friday showed German industrial orders rose more than expected on the month in October, raising hopes the manufacturing sector in Europe's biggest economy started the fourth quarter on a solid footing.

Basic material stocks rose 1.4% and were the biggest gainers this week, up 6.8% in its best weekly performance in six months, as copper and iron ore prices soared. [MET/L] [IRONORE/]

Sweden's Investment AB Latour dropped 12.7% and was the worst performer in the STOXX 600 after its majority shareholder trimmed its stake in the company.

All eyes will be on the European Central Bank meeting on Thursday when it is expected to keep its policy rate on hold, but increase bond-buying.

(Additional reporting by Herbert W Lash in New York; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Paul Simao)

By Susan Mathew

© Reuters 2021
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