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European Stocks Edge Higher Buoyed by Record Growth in European Basic Materials Output

European equity benchmarks opened the week higher on Monday morning, with strong gains seen in the automobile sector and trading optimism buoyed by record growth of European basic materials output in December.

A closely-watched gauge measuring growth of European basic materials output posted its highest reading in December since the series began in January 1998. The Europe Basic Materials Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) posted a reading above 60 in January, according to research company IHS Markit which produces the report. Readings above 50 signal growth while those below denote contraction. The basic materials bracket includes chemicals, metals and mining, forestry and paper products.

Separate data released on Monday showed that the volume of retail trade rose by 1.5% across the Eurozone in November when compared to October, according to Eurostat, the statistics office of the European Union. This reversed the 1.1% monthly drop which had been registered in the prior month. The highest gains in retail trade were observed in Portugal, up by 3.9%, Slovenia, 2.8% higher, Germany, up by 2.3% and Croatia, 2.1% higher.

And, in equities, security company G4S was leading the gainers on London's FTSE 100 Index, followed by Experian, a consumer credit reporting agency, up by 1.7% and pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline, trading 1.3% higher. Land Securities Group, a commercial property development and investment company, was up by 1.1%.

On Frankfurt's DAX, automobile manufacturer BMW was 1.7% higher, building materials producer HeidelbergCement was up by 1.3% and Linde, a chemical company, was 1.2% higher. Daimler, a manufacturer of automobiles, was also up by 1.2%. And, on Paris' CAC-40, financial services provider Credit Agricole was 2.0% higher, Accor, a hotel operator, was up by 1.9%, Valeo, an automotive supplier, was 1.6% higher and Michelin, a manufacturer of tires, was up by 1.5%.

Oil prices meanwhile were extending gains with West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures, the main US benchmark, up by 0.3% at $61.59 per barrel while Brent crude, the international gauge, was 0.1% higher at $67.66 per barrel in recent trade.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 Index was 0.23% higher, London's FTSE 100 Index was up by 0.04%, Frankfurt's DAX was 0.40% higher and Paris' CAC-40 was 0.34% higher at the time of writing.

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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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