European shares head back to 4-year peak as PMIs brighten mood

Credit: REUTERS/Reuters Staff

European shares climbed back to recent highs on Monday, as upbeat factory activity data from China and major eurozone economies boosted trade-sensitive sectors, including miners and oil and gas.

By Sruthi Shankar and Piotr Lipinski

Dec 2 (Reuters) - European shares climbed back to recent highs on Monday, as upbeat factory activity data from China and major eurozone economies boosted trade-sensitive sectors, including miners and oil and gas.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index .STOXX rose 0.6%, closing in on a fresh four-year peak hit last week, led by a 1.5% gain for China-exposed miners .SXPP, while rising oil prices helped the energy sector .SXEP up 1.2%. O/R

Optimism spilled over from Asian markets as a private business survey showed factory activity in China unexpectedly expanded at the quickest pace in almost three years in November, with solid increases in output and new orders.

Further helping the mood, IHS Markit's manufacturing PMI for France picked up at the fastest pace in five months in November, while Germany's manufacturing sector contracted at a slower pace for the second month in a row.

"It (China data) was slightly better than expected, so that's good news," said Teeuwe Mevissen, senior market economist at Rabobank.

"It also makes sense given the latest developments regarding the phase one U.S.-China trade agreement... the sentiment has improved slightly because it seems fairly plausible that they will reach this phase one agreement."

Despite a bumpy ride this year, the STOXX 600 index has managed to gain for the past four months and stayed below record highs amid expectations that Beijing and Washington will hammer out a "phase one" trade deal this year.

Germany's DAX .GDAXI was on track to post its best day in more than three weeks, led by a 1.8% gain for Lufthansa LHAG.DE after a media report said Qatar Airways was considering taking a stake in the German carrier.

However, threatening Germany's ruling coalition government, the Social Democrats chose new leaders who are demanding a shift in policies, and several senior conservatives on Sunday ruled out talks to renegotiate a governing agreement.

Shares in Danish medical equipment maker Chemometec CHEMM.CO jumped 13.2% after the company appointed Steen Soendergaard as new chief executive following the abrupt departure of its former CEO.

Shares in British fashion retailer Ted Baker TED.L fell 2.7% the company said it may have overstated inventory by as much as 25 million pounds ($32.08 million).

British online grocer and technology company Ocado OCDO.L dropped 8.5% to the bottom of STOXX 600 after launching a 500 million pounds ($642 million) bond issue, in part to fund its construction of robotic warehouses.

(Reporting by Sruthi Shankar and Piotr Lipinski in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Rashmi Aich)

((sruthi.shankar@thomsonreuters.com; within U.S. +1 646 223 8780; outside U.S. +91 80 6749 6328;))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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